Fort Worth

Fort Worth pumps water out of Mary’s Creek after sewage spill

Mary’s Creek has some popular swimming holes, but because of a sewage spill Wednesday afternoon, environmental officials are warning people to stay out of the water.
Mary’s Creek has some popular swimming holes, but because of a sewage spill Wednesday afternoon, environmental officials are warning people to stay out of the water.

The city Water Department was still working Thursday to pump water out of Mary’s Creek in suthwest Fort Worth after a large sewage spill Wednesday.

Workers are trying to move some of the creek’s water into the city wastewater system to mitigate bacteria levels, department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza said.

An estimated 300 gallons of sewage per minute spilled into Mary’s Creek for several hours Wednesday until it was contained about 5:30 p.m.

A 24-inch sewer main collapsed in a heavily wooded area, causing wastewater to overflow into the creek behind a home in the 4000 block of Burkett Drive, the department said.

This certainly isn’t the only source of bacteria in the creek. But obviously it’s a lot higher than it would normally be.

Mary Gugliuzza, Fort Worth Water Department spokeswoman

On Thursday, the city was collecting samples from the creek and from the Trinity River, which connects to the creek just west of Southwest Boulevard/Texas 183, Gugliuzza said.

The samples’ bacteria levels will be tested, and the results won’t be ready for a day or two, Gugliuzza said. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was notified Wednesday.

People “definitely” need to stay out of the creek until further notice, Gugliuzza said.

The spill was not expected to affect drinking water, authorities said, but residents with private water wells within a half-mile of the spill site should boil or distill water before using it until further notice.

“This certainly isn’t the only source of bacteria in the creek,” Gugliuzza said. “But obviously it’s a lot higher than it would normally be.”

Gugliuzza said the city was still unsure Thursday whether any sewage had moved into the Trinity River. If it did, it could be difficult to determine how the sewage would affect the river’s bacteria levels.

“The Trinity’s got a lot more flow, so you’re going to see some dilution of those counts,” Gugliuzza said.

The spill won’t affect the weekly Rockin’ the River event Thursday night at Panther Island Pavilion, where concertgoers float on the Trinity in front of a waterfront stage.

Thursday’s show featuring Southern rock band Prophets and Outlaws was still scheduled for 6:45 p.m., said Matt Oliver, spokesman for the Trinity River Vision Authority, which runs the event.

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