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City of Dallas Runs from Lake Pollution Clean Up Responsibility

April 21, 2012

From today’s DALLAS NEWS.  This article tells how the City of Dallas has no plans to clean up a polluted lake that the City of Dallas is responsible for and owns.



Evans Caglage/Staff Photographer
When it rains, garbage pours into the Lake Ray Hubbard shore near the Rowlett Road bridge. When the lake is full, the garbage can even wash up on the sidewalks.


Staff Writer

Published: 20 April 2012 10:52 PM


ROWLETT — Residents along the Lake Ray Hubbard shoreline say it’s a familiar site — a river of trash, piling up in the lake’s northern corners after a heavy rain.

Plastic water bottles, fast-food containers, deflated soccer balls and other discarded items stretch out along the lake shoreline for about a half-acre on each side of Rowlett Road.

Neighbors say it’s more than just ugly to look at. Homeowners with boat docks have to dodge the garbage to get out on the lake. Some fault the debris for the closing of a nearby marina, and others say it encourages snakes and other pests.

But whose job is it to clean up the mess? And when will they do it?

The pile sits at the entrance to Rowlett, about 10 miles away from the nearest Dallas address. But the city of Dallas owns Lake Ray Hubbard and handles lakeshore reclamation. There appears to be no immediate plan to send workers to pick up the trash.

Dallas city spokesman Frank Librio said in an email that the city water utilities department sent staff to Lake Ray Hubbard last week and determined that the litter contains no hazardous materials and will not affect water quality.

And Denise Perrin, Rowlett community relations manager, confirmed that any lake maintenance project would be Dallas’ responsibility, not Rowlett’s.

Virginia Higdon has lived on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard for 17 years. Normally, she loves her view. But after a big storm, she said, she always knows what’s coming next.

“I can sit in my backyard and just watch the trash float by and pile up,” she said.

That trash starts as litter in cities upstream, such as Garland and Plano. It ends up in area streams and creeks — Rowlett Creek, in this instance — and flows downstream into area lakes. It can then eventually land on the shoreline that lakefront homeowners lease from Dallas.

Nelda Roberts, whose husband started the Keep Rowlett Beautiful organization, said when the lake is full, the garbage can even wash up on the sidewalks down by the lake. She’ll spend hours sometimes picking it all up.

She wished Dallas had taken the opportunity to clean it all up last summer, during the drought, when waters had receded completely from the pile.

“It looked a lot worse then, when the water was way down,” she said. “But the only time I hear from the city is when they send me a bill.”

Librio said the city will continue to evaluate the situation and options for cleanup.

“A community effort is an option and will be considered along with other potential actions,” he said. “This would be a good time to remind your readers not to litter … the results speak for themselves.”

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