Your Annual Poop Alert for Visiting the Gulf

by

comment
Map represents "medium" and "high" levels of bacteria along the coast. - SOURCE: GENERAL LAND OFFICE, ART BY SARAH FLOOD-BAUMANN
  • Source: General Land Office, Art by Sarah Flood-Baumann
  • Map represents "medium" and "high" levels of bacteria along the coast.
Several areas in the Corpus Christi and Galveston bay areas have tested for high levels of fecal bacteria, which is really no surprise, but something that beach-goers should probably be aware of this Memorial Day Weekend.

During the peak summer months, the Texas General Land Office collects samples from 67 recreational areas along the Texas coast, and no matter what, there's always some amount of fecal bacteria. It's an unavoidable fact that the ocean acts as our, ehm, toilet. Sewage treatment plants, septic tanks, storm water runoff, and boating waste, not to mention animal waste, all contribute to the dirty state of affairs.



Only when bacteria levels are elevated does a beach go on red alert. Then, local authorities might choose to close it until levels have dropped again. So far, no beaches have been closed this season. The GLO's online app pinpoints exact locations and bacteria levels.

Beachers should be aware that ingesting ocean water is never a good idea. Gulping the gulf increases the risk of catching a number of recreational water infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control.



Besides your standard fecal-related ocean diseases, last year there was a spike in the terrifying (but very rare) Vibrio vulnificus, which can cause flesh-eating infections. According to a report from the Texas Department of State Health Services, cases of vulnificus have been on the rise for years. Last year, there were 35 in Texas. The GLO's beach alerts don't give information on this the disease, but it's also associated with warmer temperatures and saltwater.

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.