Water Quality in Brownsville, Texas
Watershed: Bahia Grande – Brownsville Ship Channel
What is the water quality like in Brownsville, TX?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Brownsville water.
What’s in Brownsville water?
Here are the top 6 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are six of the 29 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
13 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Brownsville’s water come from?
Brownsville’s water comes from the Bahia Grande – Brownsville Ship Channel watershed.
5 of the 12 EPA assessed water sources in the Bahia Grande – Brownsville Ship Channel watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Multiple drainage ditches
- Port Isabel Fishing Harbor
- San Martin Lakes
- South Bay (Oyster Waters)
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. These are in Good condition:
- Boca Chica State Park
- Brownsville Ship Channel
- Drainage ditches flowing into San Martin Lakes
- Laguna Madre
- Laguna Madre (Oyster Waters)
- South Bay
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Brownsville’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 22 of the 29 contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Brownsville water.
- Brita can filter 14 contaminants (and Lead depending on the filter).
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out 26 of the 29 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- 1,4-Dioxane – “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.”
- Arsenic – health risks
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromochloroacetic acid
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chlorite – affects blood chemistry.
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Cyanide – exposure limits
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Selenium – health risks
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://www.brownsvilletx.gov/27/Government to find contact information for your local officials.