Waterline break turns lake green, kills dozens of fish in North Austin

A major waterline break in North Austin turned a creek green and killed dozens of fish on Wednesday, March 15, according to Austin’s Watershed Protection Department. Redditor letMeBeFranks posted about the incident, writing, “Shoal creek construction discharge killed all fish in the creek.”

Officials with the Watershed Protection Department told CBS Austin that the fish kill was from a water main break that happened near the intersection of Shoal Creek and Bull Creek Boulevard on Tuesday, March 14. The water break also led to water discoloration. Officials said they don’t know what caused the break.

When staff from the Watershed Protection Department arrived at the creek, they found about 30 dead fish along the banks, downstream from the waterline break. However, residents in the area told KVUE that at least 100 fish were killed by the waterline break.

The pressurized water sent tiny particles into the water, causing it to look murky in a matter of days, according to Austin Water. The company said it naturalized the water dechlorination efforts to minimize any additional impact on the aquatic habitat. The water main repairs were completed on March 14.

Officials told KVUE that the water is safe for people to drink and touch. However, the dead fish will not be picked up as officials said the number would have to be in the thousands for a removal order to take place.

The department said the creek’s cloudy appearance will remain for the next few days while particles settle. Officials added they will keep an eye out for conditions on the creek. 

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