So I read with interest the various online accusations about the effluent and even went out one day to look at it myself. That day there were solids coming out of the pipe but but no smell of feces so I couldn't say anything helpful even based on my own observations.
Later, I offered to the MUD the city's assistance with disseminating any sort of warning message that they might want to push out regarding the bacteria. They declined.
So, the MUD wasn't writing traffic citations, the City wasn't monitoring wastewater treatment plant effluent and there we were each in our own lane until yesterday. Then the Galveston Daily News published an article about the effluent quoting an official source from TCEQ. The TCEQ spokesman said the discharges could "cause concern" for people swimming in the water....
Here is the article if you missed it:
I contacted the spokesman at TCEQ and requested information about just what the concerns were. His response was to provide the TCEQ Investigation Report (which I believe is now widely circulated in our community) and a copy of the information provided to the GDN reporter.
This is what was provided to the reporter, in relevant part:
"Permit effluent limits for wastewater treatment plants are designed to ensure that water quality standards of the receiving water are maintained over a long period of time. Violations of permit effluent limits for bacteria could increase the overall concentrations in receiving water bodies and could cause a concern for individuals that come in contact with the water in the vicinity of the wastewater treatment plant. Specifically, activities such as swimming have a potential for ingesting the water. The risks associated with secondary contact recreation activities, such as fishing or boating are generally much lower where there is little likelihood of ingesting water. The nature of these violations would likely have little to no negative effect on wildlife."
So there is what information we have from official sources regarding the safety of swimming in the canals. Please carefully consider your decision whether or not to swim in the our canals in light of this information.
Also, I encourage you to attend tonight's MUD twelve meeting. A community Q & A with the MUD board is anticipated and I am hoping everyone will come away much better informed.