Dallas Water Utilities monitors water quality when a SSO occurs  

Dallas Water Utilities monitors water quality when a SSO occurs  

Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) responds to all reported sanitary sewer overflows that occur in or impact the City of Dallas. This type of discharge event can negatively impact creeks and waterway systems and the surrounding habitats that depend on them. DWU prioritizes monitoring and sampling of affected waterways after a discharge event.  

The most common cause of SSOs is a sanitary sewer line blockage, resulting in raw sewage spilling onto the ground and flowing into nearby creeks or waterways. When this happens, DWU steps in. They monitor the water conditions through visual inspection and water quality sampling and track the extent of the discharge and its impact on the environment and wildlife. Depending on the extent of the impacted area, multiple sampling locations are chosen to track the downstream range of the discharge. DWU uses advanced sampling equipment to measure several field parameters, including pH levels, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, ammonia, phosphorous, nitrates, and turbidity, to get an accurate picture of the situation. By analyzing these field sampling test results, they can identify raw sewage in water, even if it is undetectable to our senses. 

To further track and monitor the discharge, E. coli samples are collected and analyzed in-house using standard laboratory methods. Results typically become available about twenty-four hours after processing the samples. E. coli levels can also determine how far downstream the sewage has reached. However, this is not the only determining factor due to naturally occurring levels of E. coli in waterways from local wildlife. DWU uses sampling and monitoring to observe when water quality levels return to their original baselines.  

From the moment an SSO is reported until water quality levels return to pre-existing conditions DWU continually samples and monitors the impacted waterways to measure the possible impact on public health, wildlife and the environment. So, if you smell a foul odor near a creek, see a discharge from a manhole, notice dead fish or other wildlife or otherwise observe a problem with a creek or the wastewater system, please immediately call 311 and rest assured DWU is dedicated to keeping our communities and ecosystems healthy and thriving. 

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