White Rock Lake reopens for recreational use after sewage spill contained

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White Rock Lake in Dallas reopened for recreational use on Monday after last week's large sewage spill upstream.

The parks and rec department allowed lake partners to resume normal operations after being closed for days. The popular White Rock Lake Dog Launch will open back up Tuesday.

The sewage spill happened last week after a contractor broke a sewer line in Plano, spilling an estimated 1 million gallons of raw sewage into the creek that feeds the lake.

Denise Hickey, a spokeswoman for the North Texas Municipal Water District, said crews have been working 24 hours a day since the spill to try to clean up the mess. The raw wastewater has been contained and all work should be done by late Monday.

Hickey said most of the sewage stalled in the Frankford Road area. Workers set up pumps there and along the creek to pump the wastewater into Dallas’ sewer system.  She doesn’t believe any of it actually made it into White Rock Lake.

Word that the lake was safe and reopen for business was slow to get out. Normally a bustling place on a summer afternoon, it was oddly empty on Monday.

Michael Garner and Ciara Gibson are regulars at White Rock Lake and one of the few people who were there Monday afternoon. They went to use the dog park only to find it padlocked.

"There was no one around,” Gibson said. “You see areas where there's usually a lot of people and there was nobody. It was very strange."

"You can't even park right here sometimes,” Garner said. “There's so many people.”

Dallas park officials are promising the dog park will be open before 8 a.m. on Tuesday. They put out the word that all other normal water activities resumed Monday.

Kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and paddle boarding are all allowed. Although, by city ordinance, swimming in the lake has been banned for many years.

The water district will continue to monitor water quality but believes the threat is over.