By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
It’s the height of summer and crowds are flocking to our beaches every day. The unusually wet winter and spring we had have given way to sultry summer days full of bright sunshine and scorching temperatures.
That hot weather and clear skies mean plenty of people are looking for ways to cool down, and while the rainy days are no longer clouding our skies, their memory has left a lasting worry in some people’s minds.
What am I referring to? Well, the Rio Grande Valley wasn’t the only spot in Texas that received record-breaking deluges in May. North of us, places like Houston, Galveston and the Hill Country received enough rain to cover the entire Lone Star State in 10 feet of water. All that liquid busted a years-long drought that had been crippling our farmers and municipalities.
But sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. So much water fell so fast and in such a short period of time that waterways and drainage systems couldn’t keep up. Eventually, untreated water flowed into the Gulf. And soon after that, bacteria levels in coastal waters began to spike, creating a hazard that could cause illnesses in beachgoers.
People have begun to worry that the waters off South Padre Island are unsafe. On social media, questions are posted on public message boards, “How’s the water on the Island?” everyone wants to know.
The water is fine. Our waters are tested at over two dozen locations across the Island and Boca Chica Beach every week. So far, all the results have been coming back green, which means the water is ok. Not only that, but the current in our corner of the Gulf flows from south to north, meaning we’re not getting any trickle down from the bacteria-positive water to our north. On the contrary, eventually, the water that flows past South Padre Island will make its way to Corpus Christi, Galveston and beyond.
So fear not! Our water is clean, our beaches are beautiful and the weather is perfect. Feel free to enjoy a swim. And of course, don’t forget to enjoy your Island time as safely as possible. Always let someone know where you’re going. Don’t swim alone. Stay hydrated and use plenty of sunscreen.
One last thing, be sure to make use of the numerous trash and recycling bins that have been placed by the City and the County all along the shore. It takes the efforts of all of us combined to keep our beaches the best ones in the state. Have fun out there, and when you come back in from the water, be sure to visit us online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.