UT study shows Austin-area water and wastewater pipes feeding into Bull Creek


Bull Creek in Austin off of Spicewood Springs Road had sewage leak into it after a sewer line clogged, city officials say. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard).

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study from the University of Texas at Austin discovered that urbanized areas are seeing the water that flows through Bull Creek can be traced back to municipal sources such as wastewater pipes.

“That means if you turned off all the leakage and the irrigation, then some urbanized regions of Bull Creek and its tributary channels would lose a large amount of stream flow, more than 50% during non-rainstorm conditions,” said lead author Lakin Beal, who conducted the research while earning a master’s degree at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences.

The water that flows through Bull Creek feeds into Bull Creek District Park and St. Edward’s Park swimming holes.

The findings from the study raise concerns about the water quality in the watershed over time. It found that increased levels of sodium and chloride concentrations from urban areas show that wastewater is making it into the stream.

The study was published in the journal Water Resources Research and is part of the university’s Planet Texas 2050 initiative.

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