San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 4th, 2009
City closes 'dog beach'


Bacterial counts of 1,600 colonies per 100 milliliters have led City of San Marcos health officials to close the so-called “dog beach” on the San Marcos River across from City Park.

Warning signs of high bacterial counts have been posted. Swimmers are urged to avoid this small section near the west bank of the river.

Mark Brinkley, the city’s assistant director of community services and environmental health, said the river at City Park and other locales are safe for swimming and tubing.

The signs will be removed after counts return to 400 parts per million. The City of San Marcos and Texas State University regularly test the river at a variety of locations several times per month.

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0 thoughts on “City closes 'dog beach'

  1. That area is also where the outfall of the storm sewer that drains the manin part of downttown north of the square enters the river. The water washing off of teh streets is not at all clean and often there is a very slow flow of water from this source constantaly hitting the river. So this could also be a part of the problem at this particular location. Keeping a good grass cover on the parkland would help to reduce the pollutant loading that does wash into the river. With all of the use of the parkland it is difficult to maintain adequate grass cover there. The city ought to be encouraged to water the grass there a bit more often because it is a high traffic area.

  2. Plum Creek is planning TWO dog parks on the edge of Plum Creek. Since they operate under their own PUD, the City can’t do much to stop or regulate the construction (or won’t). Plum Creek apparently will be working on further polluting the lower sections of the San Marcos River via the creek (which is already listed on the state’s 303d inventory of polluted waterways).

    Isn’t New Urbanism great?

  3. As a tax paying property owner, I wish folks would pick up after their pet defecates in a neighbors yard or in the public right of way. Maybe large fines might help off-set the cost of having others clean up the pollution. I am glad some subdivisions like Plum Creek are trying to plan because without planning pet owners are free to allow their pets to pollute everyone’s yard via run off from their own yard. I agree that it must be created with the enviroment in mind.

    Pecan Park Campground also has a pet park off the San Marcos River. I wonder if the County has any oversite?

  4. unless they own the land counties have no particular power in this matter. If there is pollution of the waters of the state then TCEQ and TPWD do have some powers. Studies in Austin a few years ago showed that dog doo was the main culprit for coliform contamination in Barton and Bull Creeks. In the case of Bull Creek a significant amount was comming from the yards of adjacent subdivisions. Landscaping practices like stormwater detention and keeping good vegetative cover can help to lessen the magnitude of this problem. dogs routinely do things you would not let people do since the dogs dont think about the long term consequences their owners ought to.

  5. Well said Andy. The county can act as an agent of TCEQ and enforce the state water quality laws, however, our county’s environmental health department is too underfunded to take on these types of violations, and it seems like our attorney’s office and commissioners have not taken an interest in enforcing these types of environmental issues.

    I went by Dog Beach yesterday; the two meager signs are not visible until you’re in the water, and they don’t say the ‘beach’ is closed, they are more of a suggestion. It would seem that the city has created a liability for themselves if someone gets sick.

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