Barton Springs Pool remains closed due to unknown sediment in water

Barton Springs Pool remains closed as city officials continue investigating what's making the water cloudy. (CBS Austin)

Barton Springs Pool remains closed as city officials continue investigating what's making the water cloudy.

"I've never seen it that way," said visitor Tim Hollar. He and his family live in Washington. They hadn't seen the pool in years but they know it's supposed to be crystal clear.

"You can't see the bottom and that's the problem," Hollar said.

Thursday city staff collected water samples for the second day in a row. They say whatever is causing the cloudiness isn't coming from up stream.

"This is unique. We've never seen muddy water coming out of the aquifer like this before," said Thain Maurer, environmental compliance specialist with the City of Austin's Watershed Protection Department.

"I've been with the city for 12 years. I've spoken with staff who have been here more than 20 years and none of them have seen anything like this," Maurer said.

Identifying what the sediment is and where it came from will be a challenge. The aquifer is not easy to investigate.

"It's basically invisible because it's all underground," Maurer explained.

"Specifically, when we see something like this -- where there's a lot of sediment and particles coming out of the aquifer -- we're thinking larger disturbances," said Chis Mullins, staff attorney for the Save Our Springs Alliance.

Mullins can't speculate on what's happening to Barton Springs Pool but he said the issue does make one thing clear. "We see something like this just as more proof that Save our Springs isn't done with our mission of protecting Barton Springs and what's really the crown jewel of Austin," Mullins said.

City officials said pool staff first noticed a cloudiness to the water late Tuesday. Then, Wednesday between noon and 4 p.m. the water began looking milky. Thursday around noon the water became cloudy again but this time slightly muddier. Thursday's disruption did not make the water quite as turbid nor did it last as long as the episode on Wednesday.

Friday, test results should reveal more about what is in the water. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department said Barton Springs Pool would remain closed Friday. However, Deep Eddy Pool will open at 6 a.m. Friday for morning swimmers who would typically visit Barton Springs.

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