Shoal Creek spill kills more fish than originally thought

AUSTIN (KXAN) – In an update on Shoal Creek’s major drinking water outage that turned some areas of the water green, Austin Watershed Protection said hundreds more fish were killed than initially observed.

Austin Water responded to a “major” waterline outage on March 14 in a portion of Shoal Creek that runs through downtown Austin. At the time, staff walked along the creek and reported seeing about 30 dead fish floating in the aberrantly green water. In an update on the incident, Austin Watershed said the death toll was actually around 300 fish.

MORE: Austin Creek goes green and it’s not for St. Patrick’s Day

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

The Austin Watershed Department told KXAN that the drinking water that rushed into the creek contained chlorine, which was what killed the fish. A spokesman added that the dechlorination efforts of their workers helped remove residual chlorine to prevent larger fish from dying.

In terms of what made the water green – no, they weren’t pixies.

“As with heavy rains, pressurized water escaping from the water supply can cause the water in Shoal Creek to look cloudy or muddy. These fine, suspended particles will settle over the next few days,” read a statement from Austin Watershed Protection.

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

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