Toxins in Lady Bird Lake continue to drop

(Mark Batchelder/KXAN)
(Mark Batchelder/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lady Bird Lake is less toxic than it was a decade ago, according to findings from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The group takes samples of mud from rivers across the country.

Since Lady Bird Lake was constructed in the late 1950s, they say levels of dangerous chemicals increased by 20 times by the late 1990s. Scientists found the parking lot at Barton Springs Pool was covered in something called coal tar, which had been running off into the lake.

“Coal tar sealants are consider to be about 100 times more dangerous, more filled with PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), than used motor oil,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett. “We all know of the efforts made to keep used motor oil out of our waterways.”

Since its peak around 2000, the level of toxins in Lady Bird Lake has fallen by more than 50 percent.

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