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Nature & Environment

Chemical Spill in White Rock Lake Tributary

McCommas Branch looks nasty right now.

A woman named Deborah Whitington posted to Facebook a couple hours ago some photos showing a chemical spill in a White Rock Lake tributary called McCommas Branch. Whitington wrote, in part:

There is something toxic bubbling up into McCommas Branch near Hillside and Bob O Link. It has filled the waterway and is headed to the lake a few blocks down stream. There are very toxic fumes that burn eyes and throat. I called the DFD who are knocking on doors telling us to stay inside. They have called HAZMAT and Dallas Storm Water Dept.

A spokesman for Dallas Fire-Rescue confirms that units were dispatched around 9 this morning and that the matter was referred to the city’s Stormwater Management department, which falls under Dallas Water Utilities. I tried to call Stormwater Management, but the number listed on their site, the one that is supposed to ring assistant director Sarah Standifer (who once ran the city’s most inept department), is not a working number. Rather, it works, but it rings into the city’s internal voicemail management system.

So yeah. I’m sure they have the problem well in hand.

UPDATE (June 22) Over the weekend, I received a note from Nichelle Sullivan, a public affairs officer with the city. She says Whitington was observing the effects of a water main break and that there was no odor present. Sullivan wrote:

Dallas Water Utilities staff received a report of a water main break located at Malcolm & Alderson at 7:30 pm on June 18, 2020. Staff arrived on site at 8:10 p.m. and placed de-chlorination tablets at the break and began reducing the water pressure at 8:25 pm to mitigate the flow of discharge. A repair crew arrived at the location and located the failure and pipeline was totally isolated at 9:45 pm. Staff completed the repair to the main break and restored water service at 12:30 am.

Additionally, Dallas Water Utilities staff received a call on Friday of water pollution at 6515 Bob-O-Link. Upon arrival at 10:15 a.m., the investigation revealed the creek water was milky colored with no odor. Samples were collected for basic field analysis. Fields results determined that the creek had elevated Chlorine readings and Turbidity which discolored the water. During the investigation, staff were able to identify the cause to a water main break near 6305 Malcolm Dr. that was repaired overnight. The repair team has been notified to further address the issue, including any additional cleaning of the areas as needed. Permanent paving will be repaired and staff will continue to monitor over the next several days.

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