Galveston Bay Water Quality Study - Historical and Recent Data


March 1964


Gloyna, E.F.
Malina, J.F., Jr.

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University of Texas at Austin


The report describes the Galveston Bay area, summarizes some of the projections which may influence the domestic and industrial growth of the area, depicts the quality of the waters as observed by various survey groups, and relates various ecological aspects of the Galveston Bay system. In the spirit of the study public records and files were reviewed, data were obtained from current surveys, and comparisons were made. Notably, most of the data represent historical information. As shown herein, a vast amount of material is available which reflects the projected use of the resources around and in Galveston Bay. Increased water demands, sources of water supplies, and return flows point to the expanded use and reuse of the water resources in the Galveston Bay area. Traditionally, the harvest of marine products from the Bay has been an important and significant item. Also, the growing recreational demands on the Bay system are worthy of serioud consideration. In this report, consideration of the chemical characteristics of the Bay is limited primarily to oxygen demand, available oxygen, and salinity. Historical survey data and information derived from permits as issued by the Texas Water Pollution Control Board are presented. From these data, although incomplete, the sources of wastes and the ability of the Bay system to assimilate various wastes becomes quite evident. Through a comparison of bacteriological data, it has been possible to establish a relative concept of the local and areal extent of sewage contamination. Relative coliform densities for various parts of the Bay system are shown. Included are preliminary data from a water-quality survey initiated in 1963. Similarly, a comparative study of the biochemical and chemical oxygen demand of the various wastes has been made. Localized areas are readily apparent where the waste loads have exceeded the dilution capacity of the receiving body of water. Additional reviews have been included which may help to indicate the presence or extent of pollution. As shown, a very limited amount of public information is available on bottom sediments, diversity and distribution of marine forms, and general ecological characteristics.


Approximately 500 pages


geography, water quality, sediments, physical properties, chemical properties, fishery resources, ecological distribution, estuaries