PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - A health scare involving a floating 55-gallon barrel in Lake Pflugerville closed the popular swimming and boating facility for more than two hours Monday.
City spokesperson Terri Waggoner said a city worker spotted the barrel bobbing in the water near the north shore of the lake and called police. Before 4 p.m., as temperatures neared 95 degrees, the lake was evacuated under "an abundance of caution."
Waggoner said the lake also serves as the city's drinking supply.
She said before the lake was allowed to reopen about 6:30 p.m., city crews tested the water four separate times. Normally one test is conducted daily.
During the incident, pipes from the lake were shut off and drinking water was routed to homes and businesses from wells and other secondary sources.
Austin Fire Department's hazmat team tested the liquid for various acids and bases as well as chemicals such as petroleum, fluoride bromine, iodine and chloride and nothing came up.
In the end, what the barrel contained was apparently water.
Still, Pflugerville's public works director Jim Wells said some identification on the barrel indicated it originally held an alkaline liquid meant for cleaning machine parts.
The city 's assistant police chief Jim McLean says a criminal dumping investigation is underway. It includes state environmental and parks agencies.
McLean said it won't be hard to find out where the barrel originated and who it was sold to.
Illegal dumping is a state felony in Texas punishable by up to two years in prison.
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