CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — Bacteria levels should probably be the first thing beachgoers check before diving in.
Millions of travelers take trips to the county’s coasts every year. Some are unaware of exactly what is in the water. Sometimes, it is poop.
“We think that everyone should be able to swim in the gulf and in our beaches without the fear of getting sick,” said Luke Metzger, who is executive director of the Environment Texas organization.
ET tracks nationwide enterococci testing. When seawater tests positive for this class of bacteria, it means fecal matter (also known as poop) is present, and therefore there also might be disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms. This danger cannot be seen from a bird’s-eye view or with a zoomed-in camera. It takes special equipment.
"I have my collection stick,” La Dona Parr said as she collected her tools from the sand.
Parr is a public-health technician for the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District. She also helps the Texas Beach Watch by sampling 49 Texas coastal waters on a weekly or biweekly basis.