When bacteria like E. coli find their way into the campus water system, it is imperative that the university takes an active role in resolving the contamination issue.
According to a June 13 University Star article, E. coli was found on the pre-treatment side of a campus water well. The bacteria was disinfected before it had the possibility to affect students on the post-treatment side.
Take a moment to think about how important water is to you. Water is everywhere in San Marcos, from the river at Sewell to the drinking fountains all around the Texas State campus.
As a growing institution, Texas State has many checks and balances when it comes to safety and security. Taking care of its water sources is one of the most important things the university can do. Water is such a vital element to life in general. It not only provides entertainment with pools and the river in summertime, but it can also affect health. Health should be put first, especially when E. coli is involved.
For many Bobcats, the threat of E. coli is frightening because the bacterium is notorious for wreaking havoc on the human body. E. coli contamination is caused by animal or human wastes that collect in runoff by rain or snow. The bacteria finds its way into places like Spring Lake and the Edwards Aquifer, which can lead to pollution of the water. Depending on the strain of the bacterium, ingesting water that contains E. coli can result in serious digestive problems. Students should be concerned with this not only because of the effect on drinking water, but also because of the river. Imagine getting terribly sick for days after a weekend float. I know I would be extremely frustrated if that happened to me.
It is understandable that finding E. coli in our water sources could raise concerns within the Texas State community. Students and staff may begin to wonder if the administration is taking the proper precautions early and often when it comes to testing water treatment sites. Ingesting harmful bacteria of any kind is a frightening thing, but to know that Texas State has been credited for its successful contamination prevention in past years is a comforting fact. The university also responded well to the positive E. coli results by treating the problem in a timely manner.
It is important for people to be educated when it comes to water contamination. Know what to do if your water is not safe. The city you obtain your water from is required to notify you when there is a situation such as bacterial pollution. Think of ways to further protect your own tap water. Purchasing a simple purifying pitcher or sink purifier will ensure even cleaner water. And, above all, be smart about where you actually get a drink. As refreshing as that river water may look during a long afternoon, in hindsight, it probably will not be so great to drink.
So take care, fellow Bobcats, when filling your water bottles or diving into the river at Sewell this year. As the university administration continues to watch what goes in and out of the water sources, make sure to check as well. Being safe will always trump being sorry in the long run.