High levels of E. coli found in four area creeks - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

High levels of E. coli found in four area creeks

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Austin has a nasty problem on its hands that the city is trying to fix. Several local creeks have been found to have high levels of bacteria in them. The problem is mostly caused by a buildup of fecal matter.

"It looks like we don't really care for our parks," said Holly Heller, of Austin. Heller walks her two dogs at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park on regular basis. Heller says she's starting to notice a problem at her favorite park.

"In the summer they get really smelly," said Heller.

From trash, to pet and human waste, some Austin waterways are downright disgusting. In four Austin creeks, excessive levels of feces were detected. Tests showed high levels of bacteria in Walnut Creek, Waller Creek, Taylor Slough and Spicewood Tributary of Shoal Creek.

According to city officials, one way residents and especially pet owners can do to help keep water ways cleaner is to pick up after their pets.

"People can always clean up after their dogs," said Chris Herrington, an engineer with City of Austin Watershed Protection Department.

Herrington says waterways are monitored for E. coli bacteria by city and state laboratories.

"There is the potential for ingesting pathogens that could cause a range of illnesses. The most common illness is gastroenteritis," said Herrington.

Herrington says while pet waste is part of the problem, it's not the only source.

"From leaking waste water infrastructure and even from homeless people in some parts of town," said Herrington.

This city is holding a public meeting to address the issue on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at One Texas Center Building in Room 325.

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