We don’t know what kind of crazyrock they’re smoking up there at the Texas Council on Environmental Policy, but we’ll find out tomorrow what sort of brain damage goes with it when its three Perry-appointed commissioners cast two important votes.
The first involves wide-ranging changes to the state’s water quality standards that open wide the poop pipe on Texas lakes, rivers, and streams. By expanding the designation of surface waters used for a variety of “contact recreation” uses, the cleaner surface waters now allowed to contain E coli levels of 126 colonies of bacteria per 100 milliliters (conveniently also the U.S. EPA’s recommended upper limit for “full body contact”) would be adjustment upward to allow for 206 colonies.
While that is still of a range that won’t likely send the U.S. EPA into fits, according to our insider aquatics expert, other waterways designated for less intensive contact recreation (something called "secondary contact number 2," or alternately, "where your kid goes exploring") may be allowed to have more than 1,000 bacterial colonies per 100 milliliters.
Our advice? Don’t fret over accidentally swallowing some crypto, just leave your whole head in a biohazard box back in the boat.
Shocking as this may sound, the TCEQ’s recommended change is not based on some out-of-left-field consensus-busting science proving once and for all that excrement-enriched water is good for us. Instead, call it a matter of practicality. As EPA TCEQ spokesperson Andrea Morrow told the Longview News-Journal recently, the agency was suffering from a nasty case of optimism when it set the original level on allowable feces — but it’s time to get real.
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