Shoal Creek spill kills more fish than originally thought

AUSTIN (KXAN) โ€“ After a rupture in Shoals Creek drinking water mains turned parts of the water green, the Austin Watershed Conservation Agency said hundreds more fish died than initially observed.

Austin Water responded to a “significant” waterline break that occurred on March 14 at a portion of Shoal Creek that runs through downtown Austin. Crews were walking along the creek at the time and reported finding about 30 dead fish floating in the unusually green water. In an update on the incident, Austin Watershed said the death toll was actually around 300 fish.

Austin Watershed said Thursday’s storm pushed debris and dead fish toward an inlet so city workers could more accurately assess the full extent of the spill’s impact.

The Austin Watershed Division told KXAN that the drinking water that overflowed into the creek contained chlorine gas, which is what killed the fish. A spokesman added that their workers’ dechlorination work helps remove residual chlorine to prevent the death of larger fish.

As for what turned the water green – no, not leprechauns.

“Similar to heavy rain, pressurized water leaving the water main can cause Shoal Creek water to take on a cloudy or cloudy appearance. These fine suspended particles will settle over the next few days,” said a statement from the Austin Watershed Conservation Authority wrote in.

Austin Watershed Protection said field crews would go to the creek on Saturday and Sunday to clean up the area.

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