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E.coli levels in Neuse River in Kinston still high, source remains under investigation

White fungus can be seen atop the water at the Kinston outfall into the Neuse River.
Sound Rivers
White fungus can be seen atop the water at the Kinston outfall into the Neuse River.

The Neuse Riverkeeper is still working to determine why a Swim Guide site in Kinston continues to have extremely high levels of bacteria.

In mid-summer, test results of water samples taken at the N.C. Highway 11 boat ramp in Kinston starting coming back with elevated levels of E. coli, which has continued into fall.

Last week, Samantha Krop investigated a large stormwater outfall pipe flowing directly into the Neuse River. She said it was flowing pretty significantly with what looked like sewage, even though there’s been no rain recently. Tests came back “off the charts” for E. coli.

Kinston city officials did find a sewage leak upstream and were able to fix it, but when Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register visited the site five days later, she also found odorous, bluish-green water, topped with white fungus.

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has been notified, but Krop said state officials haven’t been out to the site yet.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to