The City of Austin and the Commission on Environmental Quality are holding a public meeting to discuss fecal bacteria problems in four Austin creeks: Taylor Slough South, Waller Creek, Walnut Creek and the Spicewood Tributary to Shoal Creek. Public input is needed to determine how the necessary reductions in bacteria will be achieved. Anyone interested in protecting Austin's water quality is encouraged to attend.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is required by the federal Clean Water Act to regularly identify water bodies with impaired water quality. Taylor Slough South, Waller Creek, Walnut Creek and the Spicewood Tributary to Shoal Creek have been identified as having fecal bacteria concentrations that exceed Texas standards for human contact. The City of Austin has asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to determine how much fecal bacteria levels must be reduced in these creeks to support safe human contact. Public participation is essential in determining how this will be achieved. In addition, a committee will be formed to oversee the development of a plan to reduce the fecal bacteria in these creeks.
The City of Austin and other regional partners have been working to reduce fecal contamination in area watersheds. Ongoing efforts to improve bacteria concentrations include regular water quality monitoring to identify problems, public education efforts, and programs to repair and improve wastewater infrastructure. As a result of the success of these programs, three Austin water bodies have recently been removed from the statewide list of areas impaired by fecal contamination. These are Eanes Creek, the Colorado River below Austin and the Westlake Davenport Tributary to Lake Austin. Although this current effort will focus on four creeks, the City of Austin is committed to continuing to improve water quality and reduce fecal contamination across Austin.