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Sewage leak closes Barton Springs Pool

Monday, May 10, 2010 by Austin Monitor

City officials have closed Barton Springs Pool due to concerns related to a large sewage spill in the Circle C subdivision. Officials say that vandals blocked a manhole, resulting in the release of about 250,000 gallons of wastewater near the intersection of LaCrosse Drive and MoPac.


Parks Department spokesman Victor Ovalle said officials closed the pool at 5pm Sunday as a precautionary measure. Employees of the Austin Water Utility, health and watershed protection departments are also involved in analyzing impacts from the spill.


Ovalle said the wastewater entered a nearby creek and went into the aquifer.


Daryl Slusher, assistant director of AWU and Nancy McClintock, assistant director for Watershed Protection, said a large rock and other debris was thrown into the line but the spill is currently contained. Crews have been working since yesterday afternoon to pump out the debris and route sewage away from the manhole.


Crews will be sticking a camera into the line to check for further debris. McClintock said the immediate issue is bacteria, which can be harmful to human health and can also affect the Barton Springs salamander.


“It’s really a bacteria issue that is the most immediate one,” McClintock said.

“We worry about Barton Springs,” she said because any recharge that happens in Slaughter goes downstream to the springs. She noted that crews were cleaning out pools within Slaughter Creek. If there is too much sewage it can cause an oxygen deficit, making life more difficult for the endangered salamander.


Ovalle said the parks department would keep Barton Springs closed through tomorrow morning but would be opening Deep Eddy Pool early Tuesday to accommodate swimmers.


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