Texas Parks & Wildlife reports hundreds of fish dead after wastewater spill into Pflugerville’s Gilleland Creek

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More than 500 fish died following a wastewater spill into Gilleland Creek in Pflugerville earlier this week, according to numbers from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

The city of Pflugerville on March 4 discovered a a mechanical failure of a dechlorination pump at the Gilleland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, according to a city news release. It was determined approximately 3.4 million gallons of treated, chlorinated wastewater was discharged into Gilleland Creek.

“The city notified appropriate regulatory entities of the chlorination issue including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and [TPWD],” the news release stated.

TPWD was on site March 4 and the city reported Gilleland Creek returned to normal chlorination levels that day.

In all, 544 fish died in Gilleland Creek after the wastewater discharge, according to figures from TPWD.

That includes 158 channel catfish; 116 longear sunfish; 88 gray redhorse; 79 blacktail shiner; 63 Guadalupe bass; and reported deaths of eight other types of fish—including 2 largemouth bass.

In its March 4 news release, the city advised residents to avoid contact with waste material, soil or water in the area affected by the spill.

Additionally, anyone with private drinking water supply wells located within half a mile of the spill site should use only water that has been distilled or boiled for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing and tooth brushing. Anyone living within half a mile of the creek with a private well should have their well water tested and disinfected prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling, per the release.

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  1. Pf Water Drinker

    First, how could they let 3.4 MILLION gallons of wastewater escape like this? Somebody wasn’t doing their job, and that problem needs to be fixed. I wonder if this will make our wastewater charges go up?

    I wonder if our tax payer money went to count and categorize all the dead fish? That seems to be a waste of money. This creek sounds like it used to be a fisherman’s paradise, but neglect by the city seems to have ruined it.

    If it is treated wastewater, then why is it a hazard? And you shouldn’t drink from any well in the area? That sounds like an ecological disaster, not a simple release of treated wastewater. If the water was really fully treated, it shouldn’t be a hazard to anybody.

    I was very sad to read this, but thank you CI, for reporting it. (seriously) Now I feel guilty every time I flush the toilet…..

  2. It is happening again right now. All the fish are dead in the creek again. City says Southwest Water has a problem at the plant on the creek, but the city doesn’t want to speak on behalf of Southwest Water, so “Southwest Water has a problem” is 100% of the information the city has provided.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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