- Environment Texas
New research from Environment Texas found that 141 beaches around the state had water pollution levels that put swimmers at risk of getting sick on at least one occasion last year. The Austin-based group's Safe for Swimming? report examined fecal bacteria levels at 167 Texas beaches.
In case you need a refresher on basic scientific terms, "fecal" equals "doo doo." Eww.
Texas' worst beach for bacteria was Corpus Christi's Cole Park-Site 3, which had levels high enough to be risky for swimmers on 52 of the 64 days on which it was tested. Ten additional sites were risky for swimmers on at least 1 in 4 of the days tested; seven of those were in Nueces County, where Corpus is located.
Beyond the gross-out factor, the contamination poses significant health risks, according to Environment Texas.
Fecal bacteria, commonly found in stormwater runoff and sewage overflows, can give people gastrointestinal problems and other illnesses. Each year, contaminated waters sicken an estimated 57 million people nationwide, according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health.
Environment Texas' report recommends that Texas and its municipalities dramatically step up infrastructure investment to fix aging sewage systems and invest in environmentally friendly solutions that cut down releases of harmful material.
“Swimming at the beach is a prime summertime joy for so many Texans, but clearly we have more work to do to make sure water at all our beaches is safe,” said Jen Schmerling, deputy director of the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “We must invest in water infrastructure that prevents pollution to ensure that America’s waterways are safe for swimming.”
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