Lake Lavon boaters complain about foul-smelling material in water

People who boat and fish on Lake Lavon are reporting something smelly in the water that’s bubbling to the surface.

The boaters say it’s sporadic and doesn't happen all day, but they think it smells like sewage. Since then, the North Texas Municipal Water District has launched an investigation.

It's been a big mystery and cause for concern for those who've encountered it near the Highland Park boat ramp on the west side of the lake.

A fisherman's find Monday morning on Lake Lavon captured on cell phone video of dark brown debris bubbling up to the surface accompanied by an unappetizing, familiar stench.

Fisherman Joshua Barry has had two recent similar experiences there.

“My wife noticed a big bunch of like tar coming out of the bottom of the lake,” Barry said. “We drove over to see what it was and it was floating poo. It was disgusting.”

Barry says the bubbling seems to happen randomly in a certain area. And when it happens, there's no mistaking it.

“It smelled rancid. It was just terrible,” he said. “It was a bad smell.”

The lake was the first North Texas reservoir built by the Army Corps of Engineers and is the area's largest source of drinking water.

A spokesperson for the North Texas Municipal Water District says after receiving complaints, a crew took water samples Monday morning. She says the location of the bubbling debris is near a discharge point for a nearby wastewater treatment plant. She believes what's bubbling up is not raw sewage but partially treated sewage as a result of heavy March rainfall.

The spokesperson says the bubbling is evidence the organic material is decomposing.

“It's still disgusting,” Barry said. “If you saw what I saw, you would want to vomit.”

In a statement, the water district says, "We have not observed any wildlife or environmental impacts in the area that would be a cause for concern. Runoff from agriculture and city streets are much higher contributors to contaminants found in the lake water."

The water district says it's working with experts and will likely have test results by next week that will help them determine what the issue is. The spokesperson also pointed out the treatment process removes contaminants for clean drinking water.

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