Austin Water

Energy & Environment
12:14 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Prescribed Burn Could Have Austin-Area Residents Seeing Smoke

Austin Water Utility conducts a prescribed burn to restore native grasses. One such burn is scheduled today.
Facebook.com/AustinWater

Austin area residents may see some smoke today as the result of a prescribed burn.

Officials warn that smoke may be visible west of Buda and south of FM 1826 from mid-morning until sunset. Citizens are urged to keep the prescribed burn in mind and exercise caution when contacting emergency services about any smoke.

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Austin
3:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

British Invasion: Could London's 'Fatberg' Lurk in Austin Sewers?

Ewww: A screenshot from Austin Water's video urging users to fight the "grease blob."
Austin Water

Cooking grease may be an afterthought for some, but as London discovered this week, grease can become a costly, time consuming problem. The city was forced to remove 15,000 tons of gunky, fatty buildup from its sewage pipelines, a so-called "Fatberg" the size of a double-decker bus.

It looks like Austin may have steered clear of the Fatberg, however: Austin has a smaller sewer system and diligent monitoring. But it’s easy to see how quickly grease buildups can transform themselves into a major cost: a 12 month summary of sanitary sewer overflows reveals that six incidents in April cost Austin Water $25,500.

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Austin
11:53 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Austin - Soon You’ll Be Able to Irrigate the Yard With Your Washing Machine Wastewater

An upscale greywater garden, built in Los Angeles.
flickr.com/jeremylevinedesign

In an eco-friendly city like Austin, you’d think reclaimed water systems for the home would be a no-brainer. Instead, the entire city has only one fully licensed greywater system. But that could soon change.

Greywater systems (or graywater, or grey water – there’s no universally accepted spelling) take used water from sinks, showers and washing machines and funnel it to uses like landscaping instead of sending it down the drain. (Greywater doesn’t include toilet water.)

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Austin
6:44 am
Fri April 5, 2013

North Austin Water Boil Order Lifted (Update)

Boil notice after water line break
Flickr, Scott Akerman http://www.flickr.com/photos/sterlic/2835202400/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Update: On Thursday, Austin Water announced the water boil order is lifted for customers along Parmer Lane between Legendary Drive and Sage Grouse Drive along East McNeil Road from Parmer Lane to Howard Lane.

According to the city, all lab tests on water quality have come back normal. The break that caused the water boil order has been repaired. 

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Austin
6:49 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Broken Fire Hydrant Causes Water, Lane Shutdown

A damaged fire hydrant spewed water high into the air early Friday morning.
twitter.com/AustinWater

Austin Water Utility crews have shut off water in the area of a broken fire hydrant. So water is no longer gushing out.

The utility tweeted this picture of the damaged hydrant this morning.

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Water
4:31 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Purple Pipe Goes Burnt Orange as UT Welcomes Reclaimed Water

Purple pipes at UT-Austin carry reclaimed water, which is recycled wastewater used for non-drinking purposes.
Bobby Blanchard, KUT News

The normally burnt orange University of Texas campus is looking a little more purple.

Today, campus and city officials celebrated the completion of a project that installed purple pipes on campus. The university is estimating these pipes, connected to Austin Water’s reclaimed water system, will save the campus 70 million gallons of drinking water annually.

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SXSW
11:47 am
Wed March 13, 2013

First Welcome to SXSW Visitors? Austin's Compost Fire Stench

Before SXSW visitors flying into Austin reach downtown, they're greeted by the smell of burning compost near the airport.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin Water is still working with the fire department to extinguish an ongoing compost fire at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant.

The fire started at the waste management facility more than two weeks ago, on Monday, Feb. 25. While water utility officials have seen a reduction of smoke from the smoldering heaps – especially with help from a rainy weekend – the surrounding area still smells.

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Environment
7:06 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Effort Begins to Extinguish Austin Compost Fires

The (in)famous Dillo Dirt mud at Austin City Limits Fest 2009.
flickr.com/plutor

One week after strong winds sparked fires at City of Austin compost piles, Water Utility crews have started the process of putting them out.

The fires have been smoldering since Monday, February 25, in compost piles at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant, where the fertilizer known as Dillo Dirt is produced. The fires were started by wind gusts of as much 50 mph.

The Austin Water Utility says air quality is being monitored with the use of "special" monitoring devices and says the amount of smoke should diminish this week. 

Austin
1:58 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Dillo Dirt Fire: It Smolders, Smells, and Stifles Sales

The (in)famous Dillo Dirt mud at Austin City Limits Fest 2009. Officials are unsure how much a plant fire could affect fertilizer production.
flickr.com/plutor

Austin firefighters are still battling compost fires at a waste processing plant near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The fire burned at least an acre of Dillo Dirt at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, which will impact sales to over 70 Austin area vendors.

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Environment
8:05 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Map: Prescribed Burn Closes Slaughter Creek Trail

Austin Water Utility conducts prescribed burns to restore native grasslands.
facebook.com/AustinWater

Slaughter Creek Trail in southwest Austin off of Ranch to Market 1826 will be closed all day today because of a planned prescribed burn.

Austin Water Utility’s Wildland Conservation Division plans to burn about 70 acres of land in the area in order to manage brush and encourage the growth of native grasses.

The burn is expected to take five to six hours. It's not clear when the burn will begin.

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Water
8:05 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Amid a Trickle of Regulation, Private Wells Surging in Austin

A Tarrytown residence keeps its lawn green with well water.
Karen Bernstein for KUT News

Drilling private water wells in Austin

The ongoing drought in Central Texas sapped the green out of many lawns – and spurred private well drilling in Austin. It’s a costly and fairly unregulated way for homeowners to get at the water from the aquifer below. 

Computer records held by the state are backlogged and numbers are unreliable, but the Texas Water Development Board estimates that more than 150 wells have been drilled in Austin since 2006. At least 50 of those wells were drilled in the 78703 zip code. That encompasses West Austin, Tarrytown, and Pemberton Heights.

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Austin Water
2:41 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Austin Water: No Major Pipe Problems Due to Freeze

Austin Water says customers can take steps to avoid pipe problems.
flickr.com/sterlic

Austin Water says it hasn’t seen a major spike in pipe breaks during the recent cold snap. And it’s not clear whether a water main break yesterday in north central Austin was weather related.

While utility spokesman Jason Hill says breaks can happen anytime during freezing weather, he also says it’s a good sign that there haven’t been more problems so far.

“Worst case scenario, we could see a lot of water main breaks because of the cold snap," Hill says. "We're not seeing that right now so we’re pretty confident that we’ll be able to make it through this winter without any major casualties. But, just in case, we are poised to respond to do whatever we need to do to make sure that we don’t have water outages to our customers during these winter months.”

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Austin
8:23 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Water Main Break Shuts Down Part of South 1st Street


View Water Main Break in a larger map

Austin Water Utility crews have shut down two lanes of South 1st Street because of a water main break.

One northbound lane and one southbound lane of South 1st Street is closed between St. Elmo Road and Radam Lane. That’s just south of Ben White Boulevard.

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City Council
1:12 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Reluctantly, City Council Gives Up $15M for Water Treatment Plant 4

Under-construction WTP4, as photographed last year.
Jessie Wang for KUT News

Austin City Council begrudgingly parted with $15.5 million Thursday to help complete construction of Water Treatment Plant No. 4  in northwest Austin.

The controversial plant was designed to provide the city’s growing population with more drinking water. But it’s been controversial since its proposal as environmental groups opposed its construction. Now many of those activists are saying I told you so.

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Environment
1:45 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Seeing Smoke? Prescribed Burn West of Kyle and Buda

The City of Austin says prescribed fire a cost effective way to clear vegetation.
flickr.com/usfwsmidwest

You might see and smell smoke near Kyle and Buda this afternoon.

Austin Water's Wildland Conservation Division is planning to conduct a prescribed burn at the Onion Creek Management Unit off FM 150 west of Kyle.

The burn will cover more than 500 acres and should go on between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Kevin Thuesen is the Environmental Conservation Program Manager for the City of Austin. He says people shouldn’t be concerned.

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