Water quality facts available online
In the good old days, going on vacation or sending a child to summer camp was simple. But then came the water scares — fish kills, bacterial infestation, mutating organisms. Suddenly, water recreation sounded more frightening than fun.
And for coastal businesses, rumors of toxic water could sink an important economic season.
Their SOS has been answered: Now there’s a fact sheet that gives up-to-the-minute, accurate information on the safety of coastal water in North Carolina. N.C. Cooperative Extension toxicologists, in collaboration with water- quality specialists from N.C. Sea Grant, N.C. State University, and the state departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Health and Human Services have developed the publication.
“Recreational water quality: A fact sheet for coastal vacationers and water-dependent businesses” answers frequently asked questions about recreational water quality and offers a glossary of terms. It focuses on the three main areas of water quality that relate to recreational water contact and human health: microbial pathogens, harmful algae and toxic contaminants. It also lists Web sites that provide additional information.
“Most coastal vacations involve contact with water. Naturally, people want to know if it is safe to drink the water, eat the seafood or swim, ski or sail,” said Dr. Gregory Cope, assistant professor and extension leader in environmental and molecular toxicology. “This fact sheet will help North Carolina vacationers and recreational business officials make informed decisions about the risks associated with recreational water exposure in their local areas.
“Moreover, individuals can make real-time decisions about the risks associated with recreational activities, based on current environmental conditions.”
The publication was created by Cope, Sea Grant water-quality specialist Barbara Doll and associate professor of botany Dr. Joann Burkholder. It can be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.ncsu.edu/seagrant/extension/waterquality/RecH20FactSheet.html.
The sheet is also available in print form from N.C. Sea Grant.
The good old days may have seemed simpler, but there is a lot to be said for new-fangled things like Web access to water safety information.
— Alexandra Mordecai