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Sewage spill at Brushy Creek wastewater plant in Round Rock kills hundreds of fish

The spill is believed to have happened as a result of a contractor error on Thursday during work on the expansion at the wastewater treatment plant.

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The City of Round Rock said Friday evening it found an "unauthorized discharge of raw sewage" from a manhole along Brushy Creek that led to the death of more than 200 fish in the area.

The spill is believed to have happened as a result of a contractor error on Thursday during work on the expansion at the East Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

Employees with the City's utilities and environmental services department were conducting a regular inspection along Brushy Creek on the morning of June 17 and noticed dead fish at the low-water crossing at Red Bud Lane and County Road 123, the City said in a release. They inspected the area and found a manhole upstream from the wastewater plant that showed signs of having previously overflowed. 

City staff notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and began cleanup efforts of the dead fish. A TCEQ official said that roughly 250 fish were killed as a result of the discharge. 

City officials currently believe that the contractor had been working on a line between the plant's preliminary treatment unit and an aeration basin beginning Thursday morning, and the flow to that line had been shut off during the work. Wastewater started to back up into the collection system's main interceptor along Brushy Creek and overflowed from the manhole into the creek.

The spill is believed to have occurred in the evening on Thursday, but City officials are still reviewing records to determine the duration and volume of the spill.

The spill was an isolated event related to the expansion construction at the wastewater plant. Officials said the plant has recently experienced other issues related to increased flow that the City and partner cities that have ownership in the regional plant have been working to address. 

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