UPDATED: Gilleland Creek full of dead fish following mechanical pump failure

UPDATED: 11:28 a.m., Aug. 21

A yet-to-be-determined number of fish are dead in Gilleland Creek following an Aug.19 SouthWest Water Company spill, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality confirmed Aug. 20.

"TCEQ currently has an open investigation into the Gilleland Creek spill," said Andrew Keese, spokesperson for TCEQ, in an email. "At this time, the amount of discharge is not known."

City of Pflugerville spokesperson Terri Toledo confirmed the presence of a spill in a phone call with Community Impact Newspaper Tuesday afternoon, adding that SouthWest Water Company and TCEQ are currently handling the cleanup.

On Aug. 21, Toledo added that the spill was a leak from the Windermere Wastewater Facility that caused the fish kill in Gilleland Creek.

"As a result, the City recommends staying clear of the Gilleland Creek as the Southwest Water Company representatives and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality continue to measure and test the water in the area," Toledo said, in the statement.

The spill traveled south from SouthWest's Windermere Wastewater Facility plant, with noticeable dead fish at the Pfennig Lane and Swenson Farms Boulevard intersection.

In a statement, Gary Rose, director of operations at Windermere Utility, confirmed a pump failure was discovered at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 19.

“Unfortunately, the decrease of dissolved oxygen in the water, combined with extreme summer heat, resulted in the death of fish in Gilleland Creek," Rose said in the statement. "Our crews took immediate action and worked overnight to correct oxygen levels in the water and to collect the impacted fish they could find. This event was promptly reported to the City of Pflugerville and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).”


Rose added operators at Windermere Utility will monitor the stream throughout the upcoming days and are developing a plan to avoid similar incidents in the future.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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