May 16, 2019 – The Health Department said Thursday that a swimming advisory has been lifted for a portion of Buckroe Beach between Point Comfort and Tappan avenues The advisory was issued earlier this week due to levels of bacteria that exceeded state water quality guidelines for swimming.
An advisory doesn’t close the water to swimmers — it just warns people that they face an elevated risk. The risk is especially elevated for children, who are more likely to swallow the water, or those who have open wounds or weakened immune systems.
Water samples are tested regularly during late spring and summer to detect Enterococci in salt water. While these organisms themselves do not cause illness, their presence is an indicator that there is fecal contamination and other harder-to-detect bacteria are present. The Environmental Protection Agency standard sets the unacceptable level at the point where people show a greater incidence of illness.
When the city is notified of contaminated water, officials begin looking for a cause. Most commonly, bacteria levels can increase after heavy rains, when sewer or wastewater systems could become overwhelmed and overflow. Bacteria also could be caused by a leak in one of the systems.
The advisory was lifted after officials retested the water.