SAN ANTONIO -- UTSA researchers in partnership with the Cibolo Preserve are getting in the water to collect data on estrogen concentrations in Cibolo Creek.

  • Elevated estrogen doesn't pose immediate threat
  • Concern is which aquifer the water is draining into 
  • Estrogen could be a result of wildlife or human waste

"We wade in the creek we don't have a problem with that," said Brian Laub, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. 

But the problem in the water could be estrogen levels.

"It can be a problem for fish but the concentration needs to be fairly high." Laub said. "The concentrations we're finding here are very low."

Too low and negligible to effect humans. But there are still questions like which humans are drinking and using this water? And from which aquifer?

"Of course a lot of the water that drains off of this area can go into the aquifer," Laub said. 

Part of the study is determining which aquifer - the Trinity or Edwards Aquifer?

Edwards Aquifer personnel said they are aware of possible eventual flow and are in the early stages of conducting research.

"If they are high enough and persistent enough, sometimes male fish can produce eggs or disrupt their reproductive systems," Laub said of the estrogen levels. 

They say estrogen levels could be in the water because of natural causes like aquatic life laying eggs, but also because of humans not disposing pharmaceuticals correctly, including birth control. It could also come from urban runoff with the boom in development.

"We're more focused on just the way the chemicals move through the creek naturally right now," Laub said. 

So while the estrogen concentration found in the Cibolo Creek is low, it's the flow of that water needs be to determined.

Click here for more details on the UTSA research and partnership.