News Roundup: In 2018, Water At Most Texas Beaches Was Unsafe On At Least One Day, Study Finds

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 23, 2019 1:15 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A study out Tuesday takes stock of the water quality at more than 2,600 beaches across the country, including dozens in Texas. 

Jen Schmerling is deputy director for the advocacy group Environment Texas.

“So, this report looks at fecal bacteria in the water, which sounds pretty gross and is pretty gross which can have severe effects on gastrointestinal illness, it can cause rashes and eye and ear diseases.” Schmerling says.

The Environment Texas Research and Policy Center released the report. Schmerling explains sites were considered unsafe if the amount of fecal bacteria exceeded recommended levels. And the vast majority of beaches in Texas had at least one day where this was an issue in 2018. 

“141 of the 167 beaches tested had a least one unsafe day,” Schmerling says.

Schmerling says this contamination is often caused by sewage runoff, old infrastructure, and flooding. She says adding green infrastructure could help reduce bacteria at Texas beaches. 

“For example rain barrels, or if we improve our sewage infrastructure, or if we increase the number of retention ponds, we can decrease sewage runoff around our city and around our state,” Schmerling says.

A sampling site at Cole Park in Nueces County was potentially unsafe for 52 days – more than any other beach that was tested in Texas.

A long-time lawmaker from North Texas has entered the race to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas in 2020. 

State Sen. Royce West of Dallas is the latest Democrat to enter his party’s primary in hopes of challenging Cornyn, the Republican incumbent. 

West launched his campaign for U.S. Senate at an event Monday by taking aim at President Trump. 

Think to yourself have you ever witnessed such divisiveness in this country? The tone starts at the top. President and Congressional leaders. Trump is preoccupied with weaponizing race for political purposes and doing everything in his power to reverse every law passed by President Barack Obama,” West said.

West, who is an attorney, has served in the Texas Senate since 1993. 

Other Democrats already in the primary for this U.S. Senate seat include Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards, former Central Texas congressional candidate MJ Hegar and former Houston Congressman, Chris Bell.

Tim Duncan is returning to the San Antonio Spurs – this time as an assistant coach. Duncan spent 19 seasons with the team before retiring in the summer of 2016. The power forward led the team to five NBA titles.

Head Coach Greg Popovich said in a press release from the team “It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor.”