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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Swimming in sewage

Million gallons of raw sewage from Plano accidentally dumped into White Rock Lake.
White Rock Lake during the summer when many enjoy the water and various trails around the lake. (Photo/Cityofdallaspreservation.com)

State and local authorities are rushing to address concerns following a significant sewage spill from Plano, which impacted water quality in White Rock Lake. The incident began on March 14. Approximately 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage flowed into a creek feeding into the lake.
According to a statement by Plano city officials, the spill originated from a pump and motor failure at a water district facility in Plano and resulted in sewage overflow from multiple manholes along West Plano Parkway. The sewage then made its way into White Rock Creek, a tributary of White Rock Lake, raising alarms among residents and officials alike.
Steve Stoler, a spokesperson for the City of Plano, confirmed the incident and its aftermath, stating to the Dallas Morning News, “City tests performed on March 18 showed creek water returned to normal and that from the city’s end, no additional monitoring or cleanup is needed.”
Despite assurances from Plano officials, concerns persist over potential damage to aquatic life and the overall environmental impact. Dallas Park and Recreation officials took have taken proactive measures by suspending water-related activities at White Rock Lake Park after discovering elevated bacterial levels found in the creek and lake waters.
Ralph “Red Dog” Jones, commodore of the Corinthian Sailing Club, expressed frustration over the disruption caused by the spill while noting the necessity to relocate planned activities to other bodies of water. “I’m sure we’ll have some people that will want to come out here and get their boat. Do it at your own risk. I don’t want to get into this water if there’s that kind of stuff in it,” he said to NBC DFW.
The North Texas Municipal Water District, responsible for managing the Lower White Rock Creek Lift Station where the overflow occurred, acknowledged the incident and is planning on collaborating with regulatory agencies to address the situation as soon as possible.
This recent incident is similar to an event that occurred in June of the previous year, where over a million gallons of sewage overflowed from a wastewater pipe. This further emphasizes the vulnerability of the region’s sewage infrastructure.
As authorities continue to monitor the situation and conduct environmental assessments, residents are urged to remain vigilant and report any unusual observations along White Rock Creek. The City of Dallas reassures the public that there is no threat to drinking water, as White Rock Lake is not utilized as a potable water source. On March 23, test samples showed that the water was back to normal, according to a city of Plano official, making it completely safe to resume activities such as fishing, boating and rowing.Ralph “Red Dog” Jones, commodore of the Corinthian Sailing Club, expressed frustration over the disruption caused by the spill while noting the necessity to relocate planned activities to other bodies of water. “I’m sure we’ll have some people that will want to come out here and get their boat. Do it at your own risk. I don’t want to get into this water if there’s that kind of stuff in it,” he said to NBC DFW.
The North Texas Municipal Water District, responsible for managing the Lower White Rock Creek Lift Station where the overflow occurred, acknowledged the incident and is planning on collaborating with regulatory agencies to address the situation as soon as possible.
This recent incident is similar to an event that occurred in June of the previous year, where over a million gallons of sewage overflowed from a wastewater pipe. This further emphasizes the vulnerability of the region’s sewage infrastructure.
As authorities continue to monitor the situation and conduct environmental assessments, residents are urged to remain vigilant and report any unusual observations along White Rock Creek. The City of Dallas reassures the public that there is no threat to drinking water, as White Rock Lake is not utilized as a potable water source. On March 23, test samples showed that the water was back to normal, according to a city of Plano official, making it completely safe to resume activities such as fishing, boating and rowing.

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