Dip your toes in the soft sands of a stunning beach as you soak in the surreal beauty of a beautiful Gulf sunset. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Many beaches in Texas offer this experience. One of the most highly rated among them is Galveston Beach. We are going to discuss “Why is Galveston Beach Dirty?” in this article.
Known for its beautiful coastline and a plethora of restaurants and hotels that line it, the beach is perfect for a fun outing. But before you decide to bring your swimwear for a beach day out, you should know that you may not find the clear blue waters you may be expecting for such a popular beach. In fact, you’ll find many reviews online that describe it as dirty owing to its brownish water.
Let’s debunk this misconception by investigating the reasons behind this murky water:
High Concentration of Sediments
As the Trinity, Yazoo, Atchafalaya, and Mississippi merge in the Gulf, they bring a high volume of sediments. Owing to its location, Galveston Beach receives most of them. As the ocean currents push them out, the sediments move towards the coastline, leading to murky hues of the water.
Galveston’s Shallow Shoreline
In the case of a deep shoreline, there are usually enough plants on the ocean floor that trap the sediments.This prevents the sediments from making the beach water seem discoloured. But Galveston Beach has a shallow shoreline which makes the sediments more visible. That’s why the beach water appears quite noticeably brown.
Fine Sand Size
As you walk to get into deeper waters at this beach, you’ll notice that you have to walk on various mounds of fine sand called sandbars. The size of these sand particles is so small that it’s almost like silt.
Due to this, these particles don’t settle down quickly on the floor but can stay afloat for a longer period of time. They are also easily carried by waves making the beach water appear brownish. Notice that when the waves are calmer, the water turns a bit blue or green, instead of staying brown.
Increased Bacterial Presence
While there is some amount of healthy microbe presence in all water bodies, an increase in the concentration can affect its appearance. Similar is the case with Galveston Beach. Whenever there is heavy rainfall, the bacterial count increases, leading to the discoloured appearance of the water.
This happens because heavy rains can also cause microorganisms and waste from other landforms to mix with the ocean water.
Even in places where littering is prohibited, some people leave trash such as food wrappers, beverage containers, etc. which can get washed away by water, making it dirty. This can especially happen during peak season when crowds of tourists visit the beach.
Is it Safe to Swim on Galveston Beach?
The big question is whether the murky water should keep you away from swimming in Galveston Beach or not. Since the main reason behind the discoloration of water is due to high amounts of sediments, the colour of the water should not deter you from enjoying a fun beach outing at this stunning Gulf Beach. However, it’s better to avoid going swimming during or after heavy rainfall.
This is because heavy rainfall can enhance the bacterial count of the water, which can lead to harmful infections or diseases.
It is advised to not swim during the rainy season. The good thing is that Galveston Beach gets regularly checked for harmful levels of contamination and gets closed if found unsafe.
A new analysis reveals that 90% of Texas’s beaches tested positive for hazardous fecal germs at least once last year. Eight Texas beaches, including Texas City Dike and 25th Street, exceeded the EPA’s safety standard, with hazardous fecal bacteria detected on over 25% of tested days. Cole Park Beach in Corpus Christi showed elevated bacteria levels on 27 out of 50 days tested. In 2022, 1,761 of 3,192 tested beaches experienced at least one day of potentially dangerous fecal pollution.
Swimming in feces-contaminated water can lead to respiratory issues, gastrointestinal illnesses, ear and eye infections, and skin rashes. Stay updated on fecal bacteria concentrations at Texas beaches using the Texas General Land Office’s Texas Beach Watch map.
The government takes appropriate measures and is quick to issue early warnings on suspecting any kind of potential harm by the beach water to the public. So, the next time you see a review with “Galveston Beach Dirty” written on it, don’t be alarmed since there are mainly natural reasons for its brownish colour which doesn’t make it unsafe.
Now, get ready to book your Galveston Beach Vacation and come back rejuvenated.
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FAQs: Why is Galveston Beach Dirty?
Q. Why is Galveston Bay so polluted?
Since Texas is the hub of the oil industry, Galveston Bay has sometimes fallen prey to oil leaks. Other than that, the Bay is also a shipping channel which adds to its pollution levels.
Q. Why is Galveston beach water brown?
It’s due to high amounts of sediments brought by rivers such as the Trinity, Yazoo, Atchafalaya, and Mississippi
Q. Is it safe to swim on Galveston beach?
Yes, it is quite safe to swim on Galveston beach. The Texas General Land office checks the water quality every month to ensure that it’s safe for swimming.
Why does Galveston have fecal matter?
Fecal pollution from urban runoff, sewage overflows, and industrial animal manure poses a significant threat to the health of half of all US beaches tested in 2022.