HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality along with Texas Parks and Wildlife is investigating what caused a potential fish kill in Plum Creek near Uhland.
A landowner in Uhland says he noticed the dead fish Tuesday night when he saw buzzards flying near the creek.
“There’s hundreds of dead fish in spots here along the creek where we’re standing,” said landowner Gordon Sassman. “Right here it just smells like sewer water.”
Sassman’s ranch is located just three miles downstream from the city of Kyle Waste Water Treatment Facility. He suspects untreated wastewater from the facility was poured into the water. “I don’t have any proof that that’s where it comes from but where else would it come from?” he said.
TCEQ tells KXAN they were notified of the issue Wednesday morning and the city of Kyle says it is investigating but does not have any indication that raw sewage entered the creek.
“We’re looking into it and if there is a problem with our plant we’ll fix it. But, there are also lots of other places, lots of other opportunities for stuff to get in the creek,” said the city’s chief of staff Jerry Hendrix. “There’s always a possibility that a wastewater line is broken somewhere that we’re not aware of, but we don’t think that’s the case.”
In 2010, the city of Kyle put out a release stating 100,000 gallons of sewage was spilled at the wastewater treatment plant. TCEQ references another 117,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilling into the creek just last year.
“Our monitoring has shown us that in the near past that we’ve been discharging at a level that’s consistent with our permit. We also know that what we’ve been discharging is not at a level that we want to be at,” said Hendrix. “We have a lot of stuff coming in there and sometimes that stuff gets out of balance.”
Regardless of the source, landowners hope this investigation will bring them answers.
“I hope to get somebody’s attention and get something done about this and get it cleaned up for once and for all,” said Sassman.
This is the second time Sassman has filed a complaint to TCEQ. The last time was in December–a report from TCEQ determined there were no violations in that case.