Bacteria associated with fecal matter monitored at Galveston beaches

ByShelley Childers KTRK logo
Friday, March 9, 2018
ABC13's Shelley Childers latest on Galveston Fecal Matter
ABC13's Shelley Childers looks into the bacteria advisory system set up to warn beachgoers in Galveston.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Before you head to the Texas Gulf Coast for Spring Break, there may be something in the water you should know about.

Texas beaches are regularly checked for fecal matter.

The Galveston Co. Health District says it's all part of Mother Nature.

"This is not equal to feces. It is a bacteria associated with feces that are in all mammals, so that means your pets, wild animals, you and me, we all have it in our intestines," said Janae Pulliam, with the health district.

Pulliam adds it ends up in our ocean water after heavy rain through storm water runoff.

"That's one reason why a lot of cities have ordinances saying, 'hey pick up your pet's poop,'" Pulliam noted

A warning was issued Thursday on Galveston Beach near 57th Street, that's across from the Hilton and Galveston Island Convention center.

The advisory was lifted shortly after noon Friday, when 9 a.m. water samples came back clear.

Pulliam said it shouldn't alarm families heading to the beach, but you should stay away from the water where there is an advisory, because you can get sick.

"Just like anything else, you shouldn't ingest your body's going to reject it, so you may have diarrhea, feel sick or vomit," Pulliam warned.

She says the water usually clears up within 48 hours.

The county tests the water regularly at 52 spots.

The county says they don't necessarily find high levels of fecal matter every time it rains, but anytime you head to a beach along the Texas Gulf you should check the water conditions.

The state's General Land Office operates a website at , with an easy-to-read map.

You can also check Galveston County's website at

The county also has permanent signs in the sand along the seawall that can be opened and closed for advisories.