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Fecal Matter In Galveston Bay Reminds Me Of My Youth

The Houston Chronicle reports today that bacteria levels were down yesterday on Galveston’s beaches. The heavy rain over the weekend had washed untreated animal waste, septic tank waste and human waste from the antiquated Galveston sewage system into Galveston Bay. 

This fecal matter is a strong reminder of my childhood.

Growing up in Rhode Island, I recall that when it rained untreated sewage would often be poured into Narragansett Bay. This would lead to a temporary ban of shell fishing and to an early hesitancy on my part about eating raw oysters.

Also, each summer the Providence River would give off an odor and many dead fish could be seen floating on the river. My father says he used to swim in the Providence River as a kid. Maybe that’s why I turned out the way I did.

When I was 12 I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Often in the summer an advisory would be issued that boaters should avoid any skin contact with the Ohio River. Yet still people would boat and jet ski on the Ohio River.

The body of water most known for pollution in the Cincinnati area was the Mill Creek. I worked in Cincinnati City government for a few years. The Cincinnati Health Department would report on just how many fish you could eat from the Mill Creek each month without doing yourself permanent damage. I would read the reports.

I remember my initial shock upon reading that any consumption of Mill Creek fish would not kill you on the spot. I suppose that along with roaches and rats, human beings are built for survival. Are we sure a nuclear war would really do us in? Maybe the radiation would simply make us stronger.

Of course, I don’t need fecal matter in Galveston Bay to relive my youth. I can just take a five minute walk to the nearby Buffalo Bayou. Buffalo Bayou, which feeds into the Houston Ship Channel, is always good for floating trash.   

What a wonderful world we have made!          

June 1, 2007 Posted by | Cincinnati, Galveston, Houston, Sea Life | 3 Comments