Study: Fecal Bacteria Seen in Multiple San Antonio Creeks, Walkways

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

A study by the group 'Environment Texas' reveals that 64% of water tested in San Antonio creeks, walking trails, and green spaces includes dangerous pollutants, including fecal contamination, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Unfortunately, data from the State of Texas, shows that our waterways are not safe for swimming, tubing, or wading," said Luke Metzger, the head of the  environmental action group, told News Radio 1200 WOAI.

The report, called 'Swim at Your Own Risk,' cites 23 freshwater sites around San Antonio which reported levels of fecal contamination which made them unsafe for swimming at least once in 2017.

"In downtown San Antonio, where the river is used for boating and fishing and is the centerpiece of the popular River Walk, four neighboring test sites - the river crossings at Houston Street, Presa Street, and Lexington Avenue, and the southeastern corner of the river loop - had levels of bacteria that would have made them unsafe for swimming every time that they were tested," the report said.

In June of this year, the San Pedro Creek Culture Park in San Antonio was forced to temporarily close in order to undergo a redesign to stop people from swimming in the creek, which has unsafe bacteria levels. According to the park, contaminated water in the creek is a result of “pollutants getting into the creek from non-treated stormwater runoff when it rains.”

Metzger said this problem is not unique to San Antonio.

"Out of 1450 statewide freshwater locations tested last year, about half had unsafe levels of fecal bacteria on at least one testing day," he said.

"In 2017, tests revealed unsafe water at beaches along much of Texas’ coastline," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. "Unsafe bacteria levels were more frequent in certain areas. Of the 12 beach sites that were unsafe for swimming for five or more days in 2017, 10 were in and around Corpus Christi Bay or Galveston Bay."

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