AUSTIN, Texas—Officials from The University of Texas at Austin Environmental Health and Safety Office will take sediment samples in Waller Creek at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3 (weather permitting).
The sampling is in response to a recent Austin American-Statesman article reporting that in one of three Waller Creek samples taken by the City of Austin, levels of hazardous chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were identified.
“The university is concerned with these finding, and we hope the sampling and subsequent analysis will help us determine if levels are high at this and other UT-Waller Creek locations,” said Erle Janssen, director of environmental health and safety.
The university will take samples from nine locations in Waller Creek from the far north end of campus to the far south end. The sediment samples will then be sent to a local certified lab that will analyze for PAH, lead, arsenic, BTEX (Benzene, Toluene Ethyl Benzene and Xylenes) and total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) levels.
Janssen expects to have the results by mid-February. He has assembled an advisory committee of university experts in civil engineering and geology to evaluate the data and to determine if additional sampling or study will be necessary. Professors Randall Charbeneau; Phil Bennett and Ray Loehr have joined the committee to lend their support and extensive experience.
“It’s likely that the committee will choose several permanent sample locations and may make routine analysis of the sediment,” said Janssen. “Regular sampling is the best way to identify spikes in chemical levels and their possible sources. With good data, the chances are better for successfully addressing these problems.”
Note to editors: Officials will be available to the media at 1 p.m., Feb. 3, at the 24th Street Bridge (24th and San Jacinto) over Waller Creek.
For more information contact: Rhonda Weldon, Employee and Campus Services, 512-471-4472.