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Monday, November 16, 1998
Surfside Beach comes up clean in first testing
CLUTE, Texas (AP) - The first quarter results of the yearlong
bacteria testing of Surfside Beach show the waters are safe for
swimmers, surfers, sailors and fishermen.
"Basically we don't have anything to worry about. We thought
our beaches were clean and now we have proof of that," said
Yvonne Perez, the General Land Office's Beach Watch program director.
The program was announced in August by Land Commissioner Garry
Mauro after Texas received a "beach bum" designation
from a national environmental organization critical of the state's
limited monitoring of coastal waters. Surfside Beach was among
11 of the state's most visited Gulf beaches chosen for the testing
"We had nothing to hide. We were excited when they put
us on the list and this proves our water is safe," said Surfside
Mayor Larry Davison told The Facts, the daily newspaper of Brazoria
County, south of Houston.
The Beach Watch program tests six designated areas of Surfside
Beach about once a week for two types of bacteria: fecal coliform
and enterococcus. Both serve as indicators of water contamination.
Though Texas has not adopted standards set by the Environmental
Protection Agency, Ms. Perez said Surfside's bacteria count levels
are far lower than what the EPA considers dangerous.
One of the goals of the Beach Watch program is to set a standard
with which to compare future results, Ms. Perez added.
She said the results are given to the Texas Natural Resource
Conservation Commission and the Texas Department of Health, who
would notify the public if there were a problem.
Results of the weekly bacteria testing at the 11 most visited
beaches will be available on the Internet within the next month.
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