City Hall

1,000,000 Gallons of Sewage Are Flowing Toward White Rock Lake

The White Rock Lake spillway.
The White Rock Lake spillway. Joe Pappalardo

Dallas officials cut off all water recreational activities at White Rock Lake on Thursday afternoon until further notice after 1,000,000 gallons of untreated wastewater flowed into White Rock Creek for about 12 hours Wednesday night and Thursday morning, threatening the lake.

The pollution stems from a Wednesday afternoon construction accident in Plano, during which workers "bored into a wastewater transmission pipeline," according to the North Texas Municipal Water District. You can write your own shit creek joke.

After the pipeline ruptured, wastewater flowed more than a mile from the site where the overflow occurred, near Village Creek Drive north of the George Bush Tollway. From there, the sewage traveled more than a mile into White Rock Creek, about 12 miles upstream from White Rock Lake.

According to Dallas officials, the North Texas Municipal Water District and Trinity Watershed Management employees are conducting tests and taking samples along the creek.

"It's really distressing that they had four times more sewage than they initially told [the city]. That's not a good partnership." — Mark Clayton

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Dallas City Council member Mark Clayton, whose district includes White Rock Lake, publicly reported the spill on Facebook on Thursday afternoon after receiving initial reports that about 250,000 gallons of untreated waste had run off into the creek. After learning about the higher total, he said, he was disappointed in the water district.

"It's really distressing that they had four times more sewage than they initially told [the city]," Clayton said. "That's not a good partnership."

There is no threat to Dallas' drinking water supply from the spill because White Rock Lake is not a water supply source for Dallas Water Utilities. Anyone using a private water supply within a half-mile of the spill site, however, should boil water before using it, according to the water district.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young