AUSTIN -- Environment Texas Research and Policy Center today called on the state to invest a minimum of 20% of the $793 million dollar Flood Infrastructure Fund in green infrastructure, including rain gardens, urban forests, and mimicked wetlands. Today is the final day for public input on the program.
LA PORTE, TEXAS - With summer in full swing, Texas beachgoers should beware: It might not be safe to go in the water. Last year, 141 beaches across the state, including Sylvan Beach in La Porte and the Texas City Dike, Retilon Road and Galveston Island State Park #6 - Bayside beaches in Galveston County, had water pollution levels that put swimmers at risk of getting sick on at least one occasion last year, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. The study, Safe for Swimming?, looked at fecal bacteria levels at a total of 167 beaches across the state.
An analysis of bacteria sampling data from beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico reveals that 2,580 beach sites – more than half of all sites tested – were potentially unsafe for swimming on at least one day in 2018, and 546 sites were potentially unsafe at least 25 percent of the days that sampling took place. Sites were considered potentially unsafe if bacteria levels exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most protective “Beach Action Value” thresholds, which the EPA suggests states use as a “conservative, precautionary tool for making beach notification decisions,” and are associated with an estimated illness rate of 32 per 1,000 swimmers. (Many states use other thresholds for beach closure and advisory decisions. Therefore, results presented in this report may differ from state reports on beach water quality.) (See Methodology for details.)
Texans love the water – especially in the summertime. From South Padre Island to Galveston Bay, and from the San Marcos River to Lake Lewisville, our rivers, lakes and beaches draw thousands of Texans every time the sun is out and the temperature is up.
But many of the waterways where Texans love to play are sometimes too polluted for people to go swimming, tubing, or wading safely. An analysis of water testing data from the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reveals that Texas beaches, rivers and lakes frequently exceed bacteria levels deemed safe under state law, indicating unsafe levels of fecal contamination.
AUSTIN — Austins' creeks and streams flow through city parks and along walking trails, create green space, and provide fishing spots for residents. However, a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center reveals that many of these waterways tested for high levels of bacteria in 2017, and would benefit from strong measures to reduce pollution.
The “Swim At Your Own Risk” report revealed that Texas beaches, freshwater streams and lakes frequently contain more fecal bacteria from animal and human waste than what’s deemed safe under state law. Statewide, 63 percent of beach sites and 49 percent of freshwater sites were unsafe for swimming on at least one testing day last year. Environment Texas called for policies to prevent pollution at the source, such as green infrastructure and sewage system upgrades.
AUSTIN - Today, the Texas Supreme Court overturned plastic bag ordinances in Laredo, Austin and other Texas cities. In January, Environment Texas joined with retailers Natural Grocers and Bicycle Sports Shop in submitting an amicus brief in City of Laredo v. Laredo Merchants Association supporting the rights of cities to ban plastic bags.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.