84% of Texas beaches had high levels of fecal bacteria in 2018, reports say

TEXAS - About 84% of Texas beaches were possibly unsafe for swimming in 2018, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

Corpus Christi was ranked No. 7 out of the 10 worst offenders in Texas with the most potentially unsafe swimming days, the report stated

Sources of water contamination include sewage treatment plants, septic tanks, stormwater runoff, boating waste, sewage leaks and overflows and industrial-scale livestock operations, according to the report, which analyzed more than 2,500 beaches in the United States and 167 in Texas.

Human contact with the bacteria can cause "gastrointestinal illness as well as respiratory disease, ear and eye infections and skin rash."

Top 10 beach sites with most potentially unsafe swimming days in 2018:

  • Cole Park - Site 3 was deemed unsafe for swimming 81% of days sampled.
  • Ropes Park - Site 2 was deemed unsafe for swimming 73% of days sampled.
  • Cole Park - Site 4 was deemed unsafe for swimming 79% of days sampled.
  • Cole Park - Site 2 was deemed unsafe for swimming 68% of days sampled.
  • Poenisch Park was deemed unsafe for swimming 64% of days sampled.
  • Corpus Christi Marina South was deemed unsafe for swimming 63% of days sampled.
  • Cole Park - Site 6 was deemed unsafe for swimming 57% of days sampled.
  • Sylvan Beach - South was deemed unsafe for swimming 47% of days sampled.
  • Texas City Dike was deemed unsafe for swimming 47% of days sampled.
  • Sylvan Beach - North was deemed unsafe for swimming 40% of days sampled.

"A sampling site at Cole Park - Site 3 in Nueces County tested as potentially unsafe for 52 days, more days than any other site in the state," according to the report.

According to the report, "Beach sites were considered 'potentially unsafe' if samples exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's Beach Action Value, which corresponds to an estimated illness rate of 32 per 1,000 swimmers and assumes that single samples represent the 75th percentile of a sample site’s bacteria distribution."

For live information on bacteria levels, check TexasBeachWatch.com, which monitors levels along the Texas coast, collecting samples and testing them for contamination.

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