Illegally dumped scooters hauled out of Lady Bird Lake


    No one knows how many submerged scooters and batteries are hidden in Lady Bird Lake. Lime and Bird removed 12 on Friday, but the scooter companies, the City of Austin and environmentalists say the most effective solution to the problem is for the vandals to stop polluting the lake. (CBS Austin)

    12 illegally dumped scooters were hauled out of Lady Bird Lake on Friday. The Lime and Bird dockless scooter companies got violation notices from the City of Austin and hired crews to remove the submerged scooters.

    "There's 10 or 15 down there, different companies," said Matt Mellor who fishes on Lady Bird Lake.

    Mellor and some of his fishing buddies took the first videos of scooters littering the bottom of Lady Bird Lake.

    "It's just kind of disgusting," said Mellor.

    They're sharing the videos on Facebook to make people aware of the problem and to get the scooters and their batteries out of the water.

    "You feel like this is country and a little outside, but the scooters are sitting right here in your fishing hole," said Mellor.

    On Friday, Lime and Bird did some fishing of their own. The companies hired a crew to hook the illegally dumped scooters and haul them out. Of the 12 retrieved scooters, seven are Lime scooters and 5 are Bird scooters. All were retrieved near the Redbud Trail Bridge.

    "They've been very responsive," said Patrick Kelly, a senior environmental compliance specialist with the Watershed Protection Department.

    Kelly says each of the scooter companies got a Notice of Violation from the City of Austin. Even though they had nothing to do with dumping the scooters, they were responsible for retrieving them.

    "In that notice it just said we need to have them recovered within 24 hours or have a game plan to try to get them recovered," said Kelly.

    Lime juicer, Daniel Saltus has recovered several scooters. Juicers are contract employees for Lime who pickup and charge scooters overnight.

    "I found these near Barton Creek near where it meets Lady Bird Lake," said Saltus as he pointed to several Lime scooters in the bed of his truck.

    Saltus is not part of the official cleanup plan, but on his own he's recovered several submerged scooters at Redbud Trail Bridge and further downstream on Lady Bird Lake.

    "I was expecting them to be over there, I just wasn't expecting to find three in my first trip," said Saltus.

    Saltus and Mellor are both concerned that they're just now glimpsing what's been hiding below the surface.

    "The water has dropped. It's been up for so long because of the rain we've had and with it dropping down I think we're going to find a lot more things we don't want to find in there," said Mellor.

    No one knows how many submerged scooters and batteries are hidden in Lady Bird Lake. Lime and Bird removed 12 on Friday, but the scooter companies, the City of Austin and environmentalists say the most effective solution to the problem is for the vandals to stop polluting the lake.

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