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Toxins harmful to people found in Barton Creek water

On an average summer day, Austinites crowd the waters at Sculpture Falls. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

The city of Austin is warning residents of toxins that are dangerous to both humans and animals in Barton Creek waters at Sculpture Falls.


Concerning levels of cylindrospermopsin were discovered on Sept. 22 after a person got sick and samples were sent to get tested on Sept. 9. Signs will be posted at access points to Sculpture Falls that people and their pets should not injest or swim in the water.

Unlike the harmful algae making dogs sick in parts of Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake in past summers, these toxins are found in the water, the city says. Barton Creek visitors are asked to avoid stagnant water especially.

The toxins also result in different health effects than the harmful algae in Lady Bird Lake, including liver and kidney damage. If exposed, people can feel:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
If exposed, people should seek medical attention and report it to 311.

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