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Austin Water: 25K gallons of sewage overflows into Bull Creek

Crews unclogged the line and stopped the sanitary sewer overflow by 6 p.m. Saturday.

AUSTIN, Texas — According to Austin Water, approximately 25,000 gallons of sewage overflowed into Bull Creek this weekend, killing about 165 fish.

The drinking water supply was not affected.

Austin Water crews responded to a report of a sewage overflow from a manhole on Saturday around 4:30 p.m. The cause of the overflow was rags and debris in the sewer line. 

"Don't pour grease down the drain, number one. Don't put rags down the drain. Don't put two-by-fours down the drain. The stuff these guys find in sewer systems that don't belong there cause all types of havoc in sewage overflows throughout the city," said Patrick Kelly of Austin Watershed Protection.

Crews unclogged the line and stopped the sanitary sewer overflow by 6 p.m. Saturday.

"The residual sewage that made it to the creek has been the focus of cleanup since yesterday afternoon," Kelly said. "Water utility had crews on site throughout the night pumping up, allowing the base flow in the creek to kind of push the sewage down." 

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Austin Water reported the overflow to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Parks and Wildlife and is also coordinating with the Austin Watershed Protection Department.

Cleanup efforts began immediately, including pumping sewage from the creek and cleaning up solid material. Austin Water staff remained onsite Sunday and told residents using nearby trails to stay out of the creek.

Crews expect to complete most of the clean-up efforts by Monday.

Austin Water said customers can help prevent events like this in the future by not putting rags, wipes, grease or other items that can cause clogs down sinks or toilets.

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