UPDATED: Galveston Beaches Test Dangerously High For Bacteria After June Rain & Flooding

Every time it rains in the Greater Houston area, all that water – from flooded bayous and overflowing septic tanks – trickles downhill and deposits into the beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a recurring theme along the coast of Galveston: bacteria levels rising so high the Texas General Land Office recommends a beach safety advisory.

Here are a list of beaches known to be contaminated. If you have any cuts, sores, or suffer from a compromised or weak immune system, we recommend that you avoid the following beaches.

High Bacterial Contamination:

  • Crystal Beach – West End – Helen Blvd*
  • Galveston Island State Park #6 – Bayside*
  • Galveston Seawall
    • 38 – Fort Crockett Seawall Park (45th Street )
    • 39 – Beach Plaza Shopping Center
    • 40 – 39th Street
    • 41 – 35th Street
    • 42 – Between 31st and 32nd Street
    • 44 – Pleasure Pier / 27th Street
    • 45 – East Pleasure Pier
    • 46 – 18th / 19th Streets
    • 47 – 14th / 15th Streets
  • McFaddin NWR #4 & #5
  • Port Bolivar – Rettilon Road*
  • Texas City Dike
  • West End Galveston – Indian Beach*
  • West End Galveston – Jamaica Beach South*
  • West End Galveston – Pirates Beach*
    • 13 Mile Road
    • Pirates Drive
    • Buccaneer Blvd.
  • West End Galveston – Sea Isle South

Medium Bacterial Contamination:

  • Boca Chica State Park
  • Bryan Beach
  • Crystal Beach
  • Crystal Beach – Seadrift*
  • Crystal Beach – Clara St.*
  • Crystal Beach – O’Neill Road*
  • Follets Island
  • Galveston Seawall
    • 25 Street*
    • East of Pleasure Pier*
    • 14th/15th Streets*
  • Palacios Bay
  • Matagorda Peninsula
  • McFaddin NWR #3 & #6
  • Port Aransas
  • Quintana
  • Rockport Beach Park
  • Rollover Pass East – Gayle Street*
  • Sargent Beach
  • Sea Rim State Park-East
  • South Padre Island
  • Stewart Beach
  • Surfside
  • West End Galveston – Dellanera Park*
  • West End Galveston – Pirates Beach, 11 Mile Road*
  • West End Galveston – Sea Isle, Terramar Beach*
  • West End Galveston – Spanish Grant / Bermuda Beach*

*Beaches marked with an asterisk were added on 6/23/2016


READ MORE: Beach Bacteria Safety Tips, Symptoms to Watch For, and First Aid Treatment of Injuries at the Beach


Beach Advisory Levels:
Low – Bacteria counts less than 35 cfu or MPN per 100ml.
Medium – Bacteria counts are between 35 and 104 cfu or MPN per 100ml.
High – Bacteria counts are higher than 104 cfu or MPN per 100ml. An advisory for this beach is recommended.

H/T Texas Beach Watch

115 thoughts on “UPDATED: Galveston Beaches Test Dangerously High For Bacteria After June Rain & Flooding

Add yours

  1. Hi. I’m confused and I’m hoping you can help clarify something. This article lists Port Aransas as “dangerously high,” in the middle level for bacteria. But a view of the map that you reference at TexasBeachWatch.com shows that only a small stretch of the water near where the Aransas Pass dumps into the ocean is in the medium level. Would it be safe to say that as long as that area is avoided, we should be okay to swim? My family is planning a trip down there next weekend…just before the 4th. Thanks.

    Like

    1. You should be fine. Obviously, if anyone has any open wounds, they should avoid the water. Keep an eye on the Texas Beach Watch website, but as long as the beach you are at is testing Green / Low you should be fine.

      Like

      1. Here are a list of beaches known to be contaminated. If you have any cuts, sores, or suffer from a compromised or weak immune system, we recommend that you avoid the following beaches….

        Shouldn’t “everyone” avoid the beaches at this time if contaminated? I agree that open wounds and such puts individuals at a higher risk, but I certainly don’t think anyone else should be in the waters as well… Because it’s “Contaminated”.

        Like

      2. We have a trip scheduled for this weekend. We should be at Galveston tomorrow evening but I realy wanted my children to be able to play in the sand and walk/run from the waves. We are staying near pleasure pier but I have noticed that the list of beaches with high levels is changing daily. I have kiddos with the youngest being 3 years and I have a very low immune system. What beaches would you recommend and is it safe to swim on a beach with low levels? ????

        Like

      3. Can you tell me anything about Bolivar peninsula. We will be there on 4 th weekend And I’ve got a young grandbaby will be there also along with my 4 children. Thank you

        Like

      4. I recommend checking http://www.TexasBeachWatch.com a day or two before your trip to get up to date results. Beaches that are clean now may have advisories by then, and beaches that have advisories now could be safe by then. I’ll also be publishing an article as July 4th weekend approaches listing all beaches with High or Medium bacteria levels, so stay tuned 🙂 Hope y’all have a wonderful trip!

        Like

    2. The beaches listed under “Medium” tested Medium, not High. However, people with weak immune systems such as cancer survivors, diabetics, young children, etc. may still be effected by Medium levels, so we include this information as well.

      Like

    3. It’s a solid infestation of bacteria that covers al the coastline in Texas from Orange to Brownsville. Do not get into the water at all. Not even to walk along the waters edge. It’s too dangerous and can kill babies and skids real fast as well as any adult that has a low immune system. Don’t even get near the wet sand. It can be as dangerous because it is harborung a high amount of the bacteria from the tide that has come in and deposited the water and bacteria. It may take all summer long and even past, for the bacteria levels to weaken to where it can be safe to be in the water again. A man had to have his leg amputated because of it and he’s not totally out of the woods just yet. Stay away from the water and wet sand all together. Go to Corpus Christi State Park and resivoir, instead of the beach. That’s 30 miles north off 37 and west of Mathis off of Hwy 359 west and take State Park Rd 25 off of that and go north to Sunrise Beach. It’s very popular and everyone can enjoy the fresh water

      Liked by 1 person

    4. I’m wondering is there any dangerous water at Nieces Park near BoB He’ll Pier..Me And My Family Just went there a few Days Ago I’m Scared Now ?

      Like

      1. I wouldn’t worry. If you’re concerned you could always put a call in to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician. They should be able to give you a list of symptoms to watch for, but if it’s already been a few days, you’re likely in the clear.

        Like

    5. I got this horrible bacteria last year when I went to Port Aransas for the rodeo I came back and develop sores all over me I went to the doctor not to tell me I had a bacteria that is found on the water Luckily they caught it in time and I got a bad antibiotic in but it took six months to clear it up I looked horrible and I got the scars on my face and my shoulder and my back to prove it this is no joking matter people better listen this a swim in Galveston all my life never have done anything and I got this and I waited in the water I never got in the water I splashed water on my face and my shoulders because it was hot

      Like

    6. Hi Kelly,
      I live in Galveston and have been on the coast my entire life. There are always misconceptions about these dangerously high bacteria levels. To put it simply, salt water is not friendly to humans. You can’t drink it, if you stay in it too long you will become dehydrated, and yes there is a multitude of infections and bacteria that occurs naturally in salt water, the warmer the water, the nastier the bacteria can be. There are some rather simple safeguards to follow. Don’t enter the water with any, size does not matter here, cuts or open rashes, or allow children with cuts, rashes, and scratches to enter the water. Limit your time in the water to less than 45 minutes. Do not intentionally drink the water. Do bring lots of fresh water to drink to stay hydrated. To avoid other dangers, swim in areas that are designated, follow the warning signs, do not go swimming early morning or after sunset. You can’t do anything with fish or jellyfish, they will be their rather you see them or not. If small fish(bait-fish) start jumping out of the water in or near your vicinity, move away to the shallower water. The majority of shark and fish bites happen that way, as they are feeding on the bait fish, you don’t want to be standing there. For the most part, fish will avoid you. Drag your feet through the sand, as this scares off any stingrays, they get mean when you step on them. Bring plenty of sunscreen and have fun!

      Like

    7. Just for a little clarification on bacteria. Texas Beach Watch tests for Enterococcus bacteria on the beaches where most people swim. Swimming sometimes involves the accidental ingestion of water in the process. If you accidentally ingest water with high counts of Enterococcus, you may get sick with abdominal related symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or stomach cramps… Enterococcus bacteria levels will come down over time as they are killed by uv radiation (the sun). As far as open wounds go, Beach Watch does not routinely test for flesh eating bacteria (Vibrio vulnificus) which causes infections through open wounds. Vibrio is generally found in the bays and Laguna Madre but it’s possible to get infections in the Gulf as well. ALWAYS avoid swimming in any natural waters with open wounds. Try not to ingest water while swimming and you should really avoid swimming after a big rain. Checking the Beach Watch sites is highly recommended to know for sure what the previous day’s counts were.

      Like

      1. The way I understand it, a high level of Enterococcus bacteria is indicative of other bacteria likely being on the rise as well. They use it as a gauge, similar to the way public water departments test for Coliform.

        Like

    8. Going there you would be putting yourself and your family at risk. This bacteria is very dangerous. If you go, wear rubber boots and don’t go into the water.

      Like

  2. I wish this had been in the news! I’m relatively new to here. I’ve just spent all day there, in the water with my daughters. I have a huge scrape on my knee from a bike accident and I have a auto-immune disease. I’m all showered up but, now what? What mess. Grr!

    Like

    1. Sorry 😦 You’ll probably be just fine. Infections / illness are rare, but yes, definitely something you want to know about. Which is why I try to post about it whenever I notice it’s high.

      Like

  3. Okay so someone says this was from last year? I’m confused as well. We swim in the ocean here on the island and on Port Aransas. This week on Monday June 20 th 2016 to Port A and there were a massive amount of dead starfish and crabs all along the shore, thousands! So Is this the cause of the dead starfish and dead crabs?

    Like

    1. Hey Lucky! No, this article was published today. I’m not sure what would cause the dead starfish and crabs. However, I was in Galveston a couple weeks ago and saw pelicans diving for crabs to eat. Perhaps you’re seeing crabs that were caught by birds? Their bodies tend to wash up on the beaches. If their shells were cracked, my bet is birds did it.

      Like

  4. I’m not too familiar with corpus…we have a room booked at the emerald Beach hotel, would u happen to know if that part of the beach is ok??

    Like

    1. It should be fine. All the beaches are testing low inside the bay. The only “Medium” flags are off Port Aransas, pretty far north of where you’ll be. Have a WONDERFUL trip! I’ll have to check out that hotel. It looks beautiful!

      Like

  5. We were in Galveston recently during Memorial Day weekend, almost 2 weeks later my daughter ends up sick with flu like systems. To my surprise she is diagnosed with pneumonia never had any respiratory issues always been very active and healthy. Was admitted immediately into ICU and spent almost 7 days at the hospital. Maybe a coincidence but after ready this article made me wonder!!

    Like

  6. We have a trip planned in July to go to Galveston Beach…..4 adults, 4 children…..we have already payed for our hotel….should we cancel our trip??

    Like

    1. I wouldn’t. Just avoid the beaches listed above, particularly if you have any open cuts, scrapes, or sores, or family members with compromised immune systems. There are plenty of beaches testing Low. Have a great trip!

      Like

  7. Do you think by July 27-31 for all the beaches to have low levels ??? We have already booked and paid for a room at marvilla by the sea in Galveston?

    Like

    1. It’s impossible to know. The way I understand it, a lot of it has to do with the temperature of the water, and how much flooding has washed through the area. If I were you, I’d just check the bacteria levels a day or two before your trip, stick to beaches with low levels, and have a wonderful time 🙂

      Like

  8. We were just in Padre 13-17 . Just wondering how long for symptoms to start taking affect. I am diabetic but have no open sores.

    Like

    1. Bacteria in general, I don’t know. I do know that the “flesh eating bacteria” that that poor man contracted recently is pretty rare. Galveston Health Department reported less than a dozen vibrio cases in 2015. But that’s just for vibrio. Obviously, there are many other kinds of bacteria in the water that could make one sick.

      Like

  9. Ok so we have reservations this weekend in Port Aransas. We don’t have a low immune system but my mother in law and I have diabetes. Should we cancel our trip.

    Like

  10. Leaving Friday for the weekend with kids…..We are staying close to 20th and Seawall….Galveston…..what, if any beaches are safe for us?? Even make a drive to?? Taking kids to the beach for the 1st time…..we are bummed. Please advise.

    Like

  11. My husband and I were at Port Aransas 2 weeks ago, stayed 4 days…while there we went deep sea fishing, I fell on the boat and scraped my knee, top of my foot, and tore my toe nail off. I have had nothing but trouble ever since…my knee ended up with I huge infection that had me in the clinic for…2 weeks later I am still fighting it…makes me wonder if the water is the reason I’m having so many issues.

    Like

      1. No ma’am they didn’t…all they did was scrub my knee, put me on antibiotics for 5 days and gave me an antibiotics cream. I have been telling my husband that I have never had so much trouble with a skinned knee like this before. After several weeks of this happening, it still hurts, but it is now slowly starting to heal. In fact we had no clue about the bacteria in the water until I saw your post last night…now it all makes sence.

        Like

    1. Are you talking about Pleasure Pier? There is currently an advisory in effect there for High bacteria levels. I do not know what that means for fishing. Any time you thoroughly cook seafood though the heat will kill bacteria.

      Like

  12. We have a trip planned next wk. Our rental is on the canal of Jamaica Beach. I am not familiar with the area, so not sure what level Jamaica Beach falls under. Would it be safe to go to Jamaica Beach and also to consume fish and crabs off the Jamaica Beach canal? Thanks for your help in answering my concern.

    Like

  13. Couple of questions… How often is the water tested? Also on the areas where there is no pin at all (in certain areas of port Aransas) does that mean the water just hasn’t been tested or does it mean that so far there have been no positive tests of bacteria?

    Like

    1. That is a question for the Texas General Land Office 🙂 However, there will ALWAYS be some bacteria in the water. A negative result would indicate that the test wasn’t done properly or defective. So, I am GUESSING that beaches with no flag haven’t been tested recently.

      Like

      1. Thank you! We usually go off access road 1-A but I can’t tell off the map of those waters have been tested or are low etc. could you clarify for me please. Just want to make sure our family trip will be safe. As we will have small children with us! Thank you!

        Like

    2. I did find out that once the bacteria tests high, they re-test it daily to monitor it. So, I’d check the site daily to keep track. However, currently, all the beaches in that area are green (low) or yellow (medium). It is hard to tell, but the yellow ones look like they’re more north near the IB McGee Park.

      Like

  14. What about at San Luis Pass? I called the Health Department they sent me to someone elses she directed me to their website to the bottom of the page was a letter regarding the bacteria from a year or two ago and about Florida- it was no help and the girl I talked to just st on the phone would not answer a question! We have paid for the rental already and our family is going there for vacation- my husband is diabetic. And what about bay side is that safe?

    Like

    1. Hey Kelley, Well that’s not very helpful! Check out http://www.TexasBeachWatch.com for the fastest test result updates. Currently San Luis is testing low.

      Needless to say, if your husband has any cuts or sores I wouldn’t want him to get into ANY water, just in case. Perhaps put a call in to his doctor and see if they can give you a more informed recommendation. That way if he needs to avoid the water, you know, and if not, at least your mind is put at ease.

      Like

  15. June 2014 I was at PA, I got very sick with in 24 hrs. My right leg was 6 times larger. We drove back to Nederland Tx. At that time I was very sick, could not walk . Went to ER in my area. Spent 9 days in ICU, al most lost my leg, at the time at ER I was very sick, I was told I had a 30% of pulling out of it. After 28 days in Hospital, I still suffer from this to this day. Please stay out of the water.

    Like

  16. We were in Port A, the 13th through the 16th and we were all in the water…with scratches and such. Should we be ok? Any symptoms you know we should be looking for?
    I was concerned about the possibilities but had hoped there would be postings if there were concerns with the water. We didn’t see or hear anything 😦

    Like

    1. Hey Gerri! You should be fine. I’m not a doctor, but based on my research it looks like infections show up within a day or two, and the symptoms are quite obvious. I’m actually working on an article to address your question now, and hopefully will have it posted this afternoon.

      Like

  17. Hello,
    We were planning on going to Fallet’s Beach and San Luis Beach the first week in July.
    Are these beaches medium bacterial contamination? The site mentions Fallet’s Island as medium, so does that mean the aforementioned beaches are at a medium risk as well?
    Thank you!

    Like

  18. We were in South Padre last week at the Pearl hotel and I looked at the map and it shows only one beach with medium levels and the rest green/low. Are the beaches at the Pearl low?

    Like

      1. Well I knew about the guy in Galveston but I just saw on kxan a man from Buda got his in Port A. Horrible!

        Like

    1. I’m off of Verano Dr. can’t tell from the map what the level is here. We played in wet sand earlier today and my 3 year has a cut. Can you give me some info?

      Like

  19. This scares me a lot!! We have a trip to south padre booked the week of July 4th, should I be worried!? Cancel trip, stay out of water? Idk what to do!

    Like

  20. Is it Port Aransas completely?..I’m not sure where Port Aransas Park is but it seems that close enough to to any port A beach access. We are currently here at staying around beach access 1A..contemplating not going in due to this..We have school aged children..Also I have the tinest of scrape from gardening on foot probably size smaller than a pencil eraser and has a small scab over..u know a normal knick..week old..is that what they mean about an open wound?..We come down here several times a year never had a concern..Should we make it a pool weekend?

    Like

  21. Please remove the 2015 article to an archive so people aren’t confused with the current data. So much info out there it doesn’t make sense to have 2015 for people to find and have to “click here” for 2016 update.

    Like

  22. Thank you Jennifer for monitoring this blog. I have been trying to read up on vibrio, but nowhere can I find information whether people who dive are at risk. My kids will be breaking waves along the shores some time tomorrow if all goes well, so the water is bound to enter their nasal passages. Should I tell them not to go under?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: