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High Bacteria Levels Found in Some Austin Creeks
Tests show some Austin Creeks are fighting high levels of bacteria. It’s a problem the city and now community members are hoping to flush away.
Four Austin creeks didn’t measure up to standards for water quality. They are Walnut Creek, Waller Creek, the Spicewood tributary to Shoal Creek, and Taylor Slough South.
“There is that potential presence of fecal contamination, so it’s something that we want to address,” said Austin Environmental Engineer Chris Herrington.
On Wednesday concerned people met with city and state officials to come up with a plan to take back the water, but experts say that could take months and even years.
The meeting was hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The goal is to reduce bacteria levels to protect people who swim or wade in the creeks, activities that could put them in contact with the water.
“It is extremely difficult to clean up,” said Herrington. “There are lots of different sources of fecal contamination here in our urban environment, but there are things that even individuals can do that are as simple as just cleaning after their dog goes to the bathroom.”
Officials say the causes of the bacteria can range from waste water infrastructure leaks to wildlife and pet feces, along with other contaminates in the environment.
The hope is that through education and planning, the community along with the city can come up with a plan to take back the water.
The city has more information about watershed protection on its website, here - http://www.austintexas.gov/department/watershed-protection.
By Adam Racusin