State of Texas: Swimming in Germs

Joanna Wojtkowiak


How safe are Texas beaches for swimming? A recent study has us worried. In 2013, the National Resources Defense Council, a national environmental group, analyzed samples from 62 of Texas’ 169 public beaches to look for the bacteria enterococcus, typically found in human and animal intestines. Public health officials frequently test for enterococcus to determine if bodies of water are safe for swimming. Exposure to enterococcus can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Only six beaches had no samples exceed the safety standards for enterococcus, according to the study. The worst beach was Ropes Park near Corpus Christi, where nearly two-thirds of the samples taken registered unsafe levels of the bacteria. Happy summer y’all!

Sources: Natural Resources Defense Council

Illustration by Joanna Wojtkowiak

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Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010, first as Web Content Manager, and most recently as Multimedia Editor. She left the Observer in 2017.

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