Lake News

Pipeline accident leaks Plano sewage into Dallas' White Rock Creek

Pipeline accident leaks Plano sewage into Dallas' White Rock Creek

White Rock Lake
Here is a pretty photo of the lake, which you cannot swim in. Photo by Kathleen Wilke

A sewage spill from Plano has made its way into White Rock Creek following an accident in which a contractor drilled a hole in a pipeline.

According to a release from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), domestic wastewater from Plano spilled into the Lower White Rock Creek Interceptor System, traveling approximately 1 mile to White Rock Creek, about 12 miles from its confluence with White Rock Lake.

A spokesperson for NTMWD says that the spill has not yet made it to White Rock Lake. But the city of Dallas issued a release stating that the lake is affected, and to refrain from swimming or fishing.

"At this time, Dallas Park and Recreation staff have directed Lake partners and organizations to cease all water recreation activities until further notice," says the Dallas release. "Swimming in White Rock Lake is prohibited by city ordinance; out of an abundance of caution, fishing is also discouraged at this time."

Is it really an abundance of caution? It seems like just the right amount of caution.

The sanitary sewer overflow began on June 27 at approximately 3:45 pm; it was stopped at approximately 2:30 am on June 28. The estimated volume is 1,069,000 gallons.

The overflow occurred due to a contractor boring into the wastewater transmission pipeline. The overflow occurred in the area near Village Creek Drive, north of the George Bush Tollway in Plano.

Environmental assessments are underway, and any detectable downstream environmental impacts will be treated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Since White Rock Lake is not a water supply source, drinking water was not affected. But those whose water comes from wells that are located within a one-half mile distance of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses, including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing.

Individuals with private water wells should also have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.

The public should also avoid contact with the waste material, soil, or water in the area potentially affected by the overflow. If you do come into contact, bathe and wash your clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.

For any other questions, visit the NTMWD website.