Galveston health officials: Water off coast is safe to swim

By Phillip Mena, Anchor/Reporter, pmena@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 30 2013 08:29:08 PM CDT

August 30, 2013: The water off the Galveston coast is safe to swim, according to Galveston County health officials. Phillip Mena reports.

GALVESTON, Texas -

The water off the Galveston coast is safe to swim, according to Galveston County health officials. 

Concerns were raised earlier this week, after a health advisory was issued by the Galveston County Health District.  Seventeen of the county's 52 test sites showed elevated levels of potentially dangerous bacteria.

"We had some significant rain," Galveston County Health District spokesman Kurt Koopmann said.  "The first in quite a while, just the day or so preceding (the test results). So you have runoff and things like that, that can contribute to the elevation.  That's not unusual.   I see that very frequently when we get these advisories posted."

Koopman said the samples were quickly re-tested and the water was found to have normal levels of bacteria. Fluctuation in bacteria levels is not uncommon.   

"We can go days without any advisories," Koopmann said.

Still Koopmann warns that people planning a trip to the beach, must be careful.

“The beach is untreated water just like a lake, a stream or a pond," Koopmann said.  "You just need to use some common sense, like if you get a cut in the water.  (Some) people who might have an open cut or maybe (have) some kind of immune suppression. That advisory is just to let people know so they can make a choice whether they'd like to swim in that water or not.  But for the vast majority of people, there will be no issue."

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