Want to get weekly water quality alerts straight to your phone? Text “SWIM” to 33222!


Sound Rivers’ Neuse and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeepers work with interns and volunteers to monitor water quality sites in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds. Our sites are sampled weekly from late May through the end of August. Sites are monitored for E. coli bacteria in freshwater and enterococci bacteria in salt water.

As soon as results of our monitoring are available they will be posted to here, can be found at the Swim Guide website, using the smartphone app, on our Facebook page, and will be announced on Public Radio East between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each Friday. You can also get weekly alerts during the summer via text (text SWIM to 33222 to join our text alert list).

Current Conditions:

Sept. 3, 2021

Upper Neuse
All sites on the Upper Neuse passed this week! Happy swimming!

Lower Neuse
Five sites on the Lower Neuse failed this week: Glenburnie, Bridgeton, Broad Creek (at Blackbeard’s Sailing Club), Trent Woods and Lawson Park.

We have held off on testing Midyette Street and Pierce Creek in Oriental and Rice Creek off of Bay River because the salinity is too high for E. coli testing; if it stays high, we’ll have to test for enterocci instead.

Only one site on the Tar-Pamlico failed this week: Port Terminal in Greenville.

On the south side of the Pamlico, however, there remains the threat of algal blooms and resultant fish kills from Blounts Bay east to Durham Creek. If water is murky, discolored or has a strange odor, avoid it. Algal blooms often thrive when heavy rains are followed by hot, still weather. Algal blooms deplete the water of oxygen, leading to fish kills, and a dead fish floating in the water is likely home to harmful bacteria.

Safe swimming, folks! 

Swim Guide comes to a close this weekend, as we wrap of the season. Many thanks to our water-quality interns and our many volunteers who made them happen this summer. 

We’ll see you here Memorial Day weekend 2022!

Help Monitor Your Watershed!

Want to help monitor sites in the Tar-Pamlico or Neuse River watersheds? We’d love to have your help in checking if our water is safe and clean! All Swim Guide volunteer positions are currently filled for summer 2021, but check back here in early 2022 to sign up for next summer!

Water Quality Criteria

Sound Rivers uses the North Carolina, and EPA water quality criteria for contact recreation. Sites are marked green when the last sample was at healthy levels of bacteria. Sites are marked red when the last sample was above the criteria, or unhealthy levels of bacteria. Sites are marked grey when there are no current results or there is no available information.

E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestines of people and other animals, and is a good indicator of recent fecal contamination. While most types of these bacteria are harmless, some types can make us sick or cause more severe gastrointestinal issues in more sensitive groups.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Marine Fisheries Recreational Water Quality Program does additional testing in the region. Those results are also incorporated into the sites listed on the Swim Guide website and smartphone app.

Thanks so much to our sponsors, helping bring Swim Guide to you this summer!

UNC Pavel Molchanov Scholars 

Melinda Vann & David Silberstein

Water-Quality Fund (in memory of Gene Pate)

ECU SECU Public Fellows Internship Foundation

We’d also like to thank the following for adopting a Swim Guide site this summer!

Zoe – Smithfield Commons Park

Anna and Emily – Yankee Hall Road

Knee Deep Adventures – Port Terminal