Discoloration Source ID’d

By Bruce Felps

Juan Rios of Dallas Water Utilities investigated the discolored water flowing in the creek that runs through Lakewood Park.

He said he tracked the water upstream to a location along Alexander Drive where a street crew is working on a patch of pavement.

Concrete dust from the work site got washed down the drainage system and into the creek after a water line break early in the weekend, Rios said.

Rios also said he plans to investigate any possible adverse effects concrete dust might have on aquatic life in the creek and White Rock Lake.


  1. Wow…that was a lot of concrete dust!

    Searching on Google, it took me about 10 minutes to find dozens of sites discussing the harm from concrete dust runoff into wetlands. Here are 3 examples:

    From: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:y5N5B3PlVgAJ:www.envbop.govt.nz/Factsheets/Factsheet-100514-ConcreteInformationSheet.pdf+does+concrete+dust+pollute+waterway&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg_9_rzL1wuFyf-kg82_4liME7THfsyPBQwYRn6m_qBG1Anmr3PBWVd7eg9t4p3qd7FkaN3mSrdvZl0GjHDhjEZm3ZE5CdN7mRozri5DtdZakEygXoifVHI3Zr39WVpha5HBi02&sig=AHIEtbSQ60imehksq9AsVJ1dFrT48fSEYg

    “Why is concrete/cement toxic to fish?

    Lime is a major component of cement and concrete. It dissolves easily in
    water (water soluble) and drastically changes the pH of water increasing the
    alkalinity (pH 11-13), which causes burns (just like an acid burn) on fish and
    kills fish and other aquatic life.

    What operations will cause pollution?

    • Concrete cutting
    • Washing away dust residues
    • Concrete spills
    • Disposing of unwanted concrete
    • Dampening down of freshly laid concrete
    • Washing equipment: shovels, wheelbarrows and concrete truck chutes
    • Rinsing exposed aggregate concrete
    • Cooling concrete cutting blades
    • Concrete dust left to wash or blow into waterways.
    All these operations can be carried out safely without risk to aquatic life if a
    few simple steps are followed.”


    “Waste concrete washout is highly alkaline and toxic to fish and other aquatic
    organisms. It also contains sediment that coats the stream bed and destroys habitat. These
    pollutants harm local waters when allowed to flow into storm drains.”

    From concrete MSDS sheet: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:LoffRVhIbOgJ:www.chandlerconcrete.com/pdf/MSDS.pdf+(texas+concrete+dust+wetland)&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiWc3y7Tgp301cotuz9y4stuLr36hW_pKlBGSv9KZZANqdiYH7RtEv9KMnKmRFocgWUi4yH6mStj-gcrfb6wH7mcSL5_wB3ZUK7JJu70sXXKTXIcPswLG3JEMaS1OTJAKG5k9vB&sig=AHIEtbQxZYEKpfKofbk-7BizWW7T6Mn2Ag

    Place spilled material into a contained area and then allow material to dry or solidify before disposal. Avoid contact with skin. Wear appropriate protective equipment as described in Section 8. Do not wash concrete down sewage and drainage systems or into bodies of water (e.g. lakes, streams, wetlands, etc.).
    Waste Disposal
    Dispose of concrete according to Federal, State, Provincial and Local regulations.”

  2. Joyce

    Thanks for this story thread, Bruce and Susan. I don’t understand Mr. Rios’s comment. Is he saying the broken water line had something to do with the concrete dust being washed into the drainage system? This is a vital issue; thanks again for following it.

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