Archived Outdoors

E. coli testing yields mixed results in Little Tennessee, Hiawassee watersheds

Halfway through the season for its weekly E. coli sampling program in Western North Carolina swimming holes, MountainTrue reported 11 sites in the Hiawassee and Little Tennessee river basins that passed all seven tests and six locations that failed all tests.


In the Little Tennessee River Basin, three sites passed all seven tests when results were compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria for recreational purposes. Three sites failed all tests, including what locals refer to as “Redneck Beach,” located along the Little Tennessee River on Sanderstown Road.

In the Hiawassee River Basin, eight locations — including three lake sites — passed all tests, while three locations failed all tests. The Nottely River Meeks Park II canoe/kayak launch has seen notable improvement compared to the last two years, passing for safe swimming in more than 70% of samples. It failed only the secondary recreation criteria once after heavy rain.

Sampling results for sites throughout the region are posted weekly through Labor Day at

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