The California Crossing Dam doesn't look like much, just a few hunks of concrete anchored in the Trinity River in far Northwest Dallas, but it's important. The water that pools up behind it is processed at the Bachman Water Treatment Plant, which is a key component of the city's water supply system.
So, when the dam began showing its age and it became clear that it needed major repairs, the Dallas City Council didn't hesitate last September to pay Archer Western Construction $3.6 million to overhaul California Crossing and two other city-owned dams.
On Thursday, the company drained the pool of water to discover an unexpected obstacle: 20 vehicles submerged in the Trinity River.
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Archer Western called Dallas police, who sent out their auto-theft task force to oversee the removal. Then, one by one, the cars were dragged from the muck. It took six hours to remove them all.
So far, police have identified 10 of the vehicles. "The oldest was reported stolen in 1987 the latest was reported stolen in 2007," he wrote in an email.
So, if you're looking for a place to dump something you don't want found for a quarter century, behind one of the dams on the Trinity is a pretty good bet.