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Energy & Environment

Eww... There's Too Much Fecal Bacteria in Four Austin Creeks

City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

The City of Austin and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are asking the public to come out tonight to be involved in finding solutions for cleaning up four Austin streams.

Walnut Creek, Waller Creek, Taylor Slough and the Spicewood Tributary of Shoal Creek all exceed the acceptable standard for E. Coli. The high levels of fecal bacteria make the streams potentially unsafe for people to get in the water.

So where did all this fecal matter come from? The city's Watershed Protection Department says the high levels of contamination are probably from sewage spills and leaks, uncollected pet waste, urban wildlife and indigent communities.

The experts are recommending a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program to address the problem. According to the TCEQ, "TMDL is like a budget for pollution – determining the extent to which pollutant concentrations must be reduced to meet quality standards."

Tonight's meeting will be the first step towards creating a committee to draft a plan for reducing the bacteria. It's happening at 6:30 p.m. at One Texas Center in Room 325.

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