Lago Vista lifts water restrictions; crews find freshwater sponge in pumps

Lago Vista lifted its tight water restrictions on Thursday, which allowed for the return of outdoor watering and the city pool. 

"We could get the restriction lifted in enough time to get the pool open for the last hoorah," said Taylor Whichard, the director of public works for Lago Vista. "I want to thank the residents of this town for doing their part so we could stabilize and maintain safe water levels."

City officials sent out an emergency alert on August 6. It said water plant one couldn't meet demand because of mechanical issues and low lake levels.

"We took a systematic approach," said Whichard. "Looked at it from the bottom up and worked each problem out as they arose, and because of that we were able to lift the restrictions."

While fixing the plant, crews thought they might find zebra mussels clogging the pipes.

Instead, they discovered a freshwater sponge.

"It's just a slow growth organism, and standard preventative maintenance will take care of that," said Whichard.

The sponge was removed from the pipes.

"It did state that it was of no issue, our water treatment process can take care of it," said Whichard. "How it got there, when it got there, that's unknown to all of us."

Whichard said the sponge did not impact water quality.

But even after the city lifted restrictions, it said it responded to almost a dozen concerns about Lago Vista's water.


"Now obviously, we take issues like that extremely seriously," said Whichard. "We reacted swiftly and accordingly."

The city said it tested the water at every location, and each time it met TCEQ requirements, and the city's drinking water tested negative for bacteria specimens.

"Our water is safe for consumption," said Whichard. "We routinely test the water on a daily basis as well as perform the state mandated. That was done before, during, and even after the restrictions were lifted, and there's been no cause for concern." 

In the meantime, residents can go back to outdoor irrigation twice a week as the city looks to purchase new equipment for the plant, which they hope will prevent an emergency restriction from happening again.