City of Austin warns residents against swimming in Bull Creek because of high bacteria levels


Updated July 22 at 11:45 a.m. with additional information

City of Austin officials have advised residents against swimming in Bull Creek District Park in Northwest Austin after three people contracted an infectious disease.

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department and the city’s Parks and Recreation and Watershed Protection departments issued a health advisory July 22 after confirming three residents contracted shigellosis, an illness that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps and can last for four to seven days.

All three people had reported swimming at Bull Creek District Park, located along Loop 360 and parts of Spicewood Springs Road, one to two days before onset of symptoms. High levels of bacteria, or fecal coliforms, were found in the creek, which flows into Lake Austin.

A/TCHHSD regularly tests Bull Creek twice every other week for bacteria levels, said Carole Barasch, manager for communications and community development at A/TCHHSD.

“It’s important to note that there is always a risk associated with swimming in natural bodies of water whether there is an advisory or not,” she said.

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  1. Shut it down for good until the City of Austin can actually allocate money to care for this park and monitor the dogs urinating and taking a dump in the river. I am surprised the EPA hasn’t shut it down yet, but it probably will soon. I’ve seen about 10 planted trees die within a year and someone with a brilliant idea created a high river crossing with a make shift dam that creates worse flooding. Our massively high property tax dollars hard at work!

Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area. As senior editor, she is the point person for the company's partnership with Fox7 Austin.
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