San Pedro Creek area modified after E. Coli scare

by Alexis AguirreJuly 9, 2018

San Pedro Creek Culture Park's wading area, the section that had been closed for about a month because people were swimming in water with high E. Coli levels, is back open.

The section, known as the Plaza de Fundacion, was built as a wading-only area, but some residents ignored warning signs against swimming. About a month after the park opened May 5, the San Antonio River Authority closed off the segment for modifications.

Now the depth of the channel in the plaza between the manantial, or spring fountain, to the leveled cascades area has been reduced from 18 inches to two inches. Changes were also made to the piping of the water throughout the plaza, and a channel was completely removed from the cascade area to provide a flat surface.

“These modifications, in addition to the improved signage, are proactive measures to retrofit the plaza so that the initial design intent for wading can continue and that users can safely interact with the park water features,” said Suzanne Scott, the river authority’s general manager.

E. Coli levels in the wading area had increased to twice the safety amount after heavy rainfall in May, prompting the closure. Water quality samples are taken by SARA every Wednesday, Scott said. Findings are posted on SARA’s website at the end of the week.

Out of San Pedro Creek's entire $158.9 million budget for the culture park, $60 million was spent on the first segment that opened in May — from the creek inlet behind CAST Tech High School to Houston Street.

Construction has already begun on the next segment, which extends west from Houston to Nueva streets, and will tentatively be completed in mid-2020, Scott said. However, a final budget for this second segment won’t be determined until the fall.

“We’ll know by fall if the funding will get us through or if we’ll need additional funding,” she said.

Featured photo by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

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