GREAT NEWS! All – every single one – of the beaches along Galveston, Freeport, Sargent, Palacios, Fulton, and Corpus Christi, Texas, how been downgraded from “High” to “Medium” or “Low” levels for illness-inducing bacteria.
Previously High bacteria levels were caused by runoff from septic tanks and water treatment facilities that flooded during the Lone Star Stat’s recent torrential downpours, but illness-inducing bacteria isn’t just a Texas problem.
On June 16, 26-year-old Florida resident Cason Yeager died just two days after swimming in bacteria-contaminated waters in Tampa.
“This has been a nightmare for me, to say the least, and nobody should have to go through this,” his heartbroken mother, Karen Yeager said.
All this is not to say, “Don’t swim!” In fact, the EPA only recommends against swimming if levels are High (above 104 cfu/100 ml). Although, if you have young children, or someone in your family has a compromised immune system, use your judgement before swimming even in Medium Level waters.
Also, be aware that bacteria can infect even the most healthy among us, and that there are very helpful websites – such as our source, Texas Beach Watch, a service of Texas General Land Office, George P. Bush Commissioner – that are available to update you of elevated risk levels at Texas beaches.
When you visit www.TexasBeachWatch.com, you’ll see an interactive map right on the front page. You can sort beaches on the map by clicking, “Level.” This will arrange the beach names in the left hand column showing the High Contamination beaches on the top. You’ll need to scroll to the bottom to see Medium Contamination beaches (because Low comes before Medium and it’s alphabetical … you’ll understand when you see it).
You can also view a list of beaches by clicking “Water Sampling” in the main menu, and then selecting “Water Quality Reports” in the submenu on the left.
And that’s how ya do it.
Be aware. Be safe. Have fun this weekend!