The view from Winfrey Point (photo by me, Tim Rogers, that's who)

Nature & Environment

1 Million Gallons of Waste Have Spilled Into White Rock Creek

Thanks a lot!

A broken sewage line in Plano spilled as many as 1 million gallons of untreated waste into White Rock Creek before it was fixed Thursday morning.

Denise Hickey, water resource and public education manager for the North Texas Municipal Water District, says a contractor working for the Plano Toyota dealership broke into the district’s pipeline just west of Preston and north of the George Bush tollway shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The line was repaired and back in service as of early this morning, but crews are still working to determine how much waste was spilled. It may have been up to 1 million gallons of “untreated household domestic waste,” Hickey says. (Update: It was an estimated “1,069,000 gallons,” according to the water district.) Crews will also determine how far the waste may have flowed in the creek.

“They’ll do environmental assessments to see if there was any kind of damage to the environment and to aquatic wildlife,” and the water district will handle the necessary cleanup, Hickey says.

The spill will not have any impact on tap water, which remains safe to use, Hickey says. The water district plans to put out a press release with more information this afternoon.

Mark Clayton, the Dallas City Council member representing much of the White Rock area, writes on Facebook that the spill has the potential to affect White Rock Lake. The dog park at White Rock and some water activities may be shut down “in an abundance of caution,” he says.

From District 9’s councilman, Mark Clayton:

I just found out that there was a chemical spill yesterday in Plano that has the potential to affect White Rock Lake and Creek. Staff is monitoring the situation but it might require the closure of the Dog Park along with select lake activities in an abundance of caution. Please see information below.

• On June 27, 2018 North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) in Plano had a pipe that broke and began releasing chemicals (organic waste?) into White Rock Creek in Plano.

• NTMWD was able to complete and repair the line at 3am June 28, 2018.

• Approximately 250,000 gallons of waste materials was released into the creek during the pipe line break.

• There is a possibility for fish kill and unpleasant odor in and around White Rock Lake.

• NTMWD of Plano will have a press release to share this information with the public this morning.

My question: what is the North Texas Municipal Water District going to do to make this right?


Update: Here’s that press release from the water district:

The sanitary sewer overflow began on June 27, 2018 at approximately 3:45 p.m. and was stopped at approximately 2:30 a.m. on June 28, 2018. The estimated volume is 1,069,000 gallons. This overflow occurred due to a contractor boring into the wastewater transmission pipeline. The sanitary sewer overflow occurred in the area near Village Creek Drive and north of the George Bush Tollway in the City of Plano.  The spill traveled approximately 1 mile to White Rock Creek, about 12 miles from its confluence with White Rock Lake.

The sanitary sewer overflow did not impact potable water systems. White Rock Lake is not a water supply source for Dallas Water Utilities. Drinking water delivered by NTMWD and Dallas Water Utilities is safe for human use and consumption. Environmental assessments are underway, and any detectable downstream environmental impacts will be treated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

NTMWD personnel have notified the appropriate local governmental officials, the TCEQ Regional Office, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department of this event. Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within 1/2 mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing. Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling. The water supplied by your local municipality, whether directly through your faucet or provided to a wholesale customer, is safe to drink and may be used for personal use.

The public should avoid contact with the waste material, soil, or water in the area potentially affected by the overflow. If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil, or water potentially affected by the overflow, they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.

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