AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It was not your typical “catch of the day” for Daniel Saltus. The Lime scooter Saltus found Thursday morning was in shallow water, under the Redbud Trail bridge - just downstream from Tom Miller Dam.
"It’s really more disappointment, for me. I hate seeing the scooters in the water, obviously lithium is going to drain out of the scooters and into water supply, however you might feel about the scooter companies, this is not the way to show them how you feel,” said Saltus.
Video posted on social media by Teddy Hall and Matt Mellor Wednesday afternoon is what brought Saltus to the lake. The video shows about a dozen scooters dumped near Red Bud Isle.
Most of the scooters were gone by the time Saltus and his father, Jim, hit the water.
Saltus, who makes money collecting scooters to recharge, said he has never made a pick up like this. "I would much rather be picking them up on the streets to make money, for me this isn't about making money, this is about getting them out of our water supply,” said Saltus.
FOX 7 Austin called the Austin Watershed Protection Department and notified them about the scooters that had been dumped into the water. An investigator was sent out. Patrick Kelly, an Environmental Compliance Investigator for the City of Austin, said since the first of the year they've seen a slight increase in the calls they've received about scooters.
The 11 person crew with ATX Watershed Protection, before the Wednesday discovery, had collected a little more than a dozen discarded scooters, according to Kelly. "This is the first time I've personally dealt with one in the water, this way. We've found them in drainage ditches, creeks, culverts things like that where they are a little bit easier to access."
A scooter that was removed was in the water long enough for zebra mussels to start growing on it.
In typical dumping cases, according to Kelly, companies are notified and given time to collect their property. A quick response is expected. "There is a notice of violation, that will be provided, it’s not an automatic fine,” said Kelly.
Problems with scooters have prompted some towns to issue bans and moratoriums.
Jim Saltus says it may be too late for Austin to do that, but he believes more accountability is needed. "To begin with they should be limited in number, until they figure it out,” said Saltus.
There is a 24 hour hotline to report illegal dumping in Austin. That number is 512- 974-2550.