Lake Travis divers find trash and treasure under water

Thousands of people hit the water this Labor Day weekend and so did their trash.

AUSTIN -- Thousands of people hit Lake Travis this Labor Day weekend -- bringing their trash along with them.

As the holiday weekend comes to a close, volunteers will be out cleaning it up, but for many divers, it's something they encounter all year long. 

Lake Travis Scuba owner Robert Weiss is on the lake several times a week and shares the water with crowds of people on party barges every weekend. 

"They come and go all day long," he said. "They could be groups from businesses, church organizations, fraternities [or] sororities."

While he knows most of the crews and captains, a majority of his time is spent under water with other divers.

"We like diving. We enjoy diving, we enjoy our lake. We've got the best lake in Texas to dive in," he said. 

They hope to keep it that way, but the amount of trash they find is excessive.

"We pick up tons of trash -- two, three, four, five, six tons of trash," he said. 

In just 15 minutes on Monday, he found enough junk to fill a whole trash bag. 

"One bag probably weighs 20 pounds or more and we can't fill these things up fast enough," Weiss said.

Where there's trash, sometimes there's treasure as well. 

"In the last several weeks, probably six, seven, eight, cell phones -- most of those iPhones, GoPro cameras," Weiss said.

This year alone, the divers have found more than 800 pairs of sunglasses.

"Just two weeks ago we recovered a young lady's Texas A&M graduation ring," he said. "I found a $100 bill one time sitting over there on the bottom."

Although sometimes it pays off, the dives are not meant to be a treasure hunt. 

"The bottom of the lake is something that we enjoy and your trash is in our face when we go down there," Weiss said.

There are ways you can help, too. Volunteers are needed on the shore and underwater at the Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup Sunday at 9 a.m. 


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