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Trinity River: A Project to Assess PCBs in Fish

A current project to assess contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish that live in portions of the Trinity River.

Watershed Counties: Dallas, Ellis, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, Tarrant
Parameter: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
River Basin: Trinity River
Segments: 0805, 0806, 0829, 0841

Background and Goals

In nine assessment areas of four segments of the upper Trinity River, concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are elevated in fish tissue. As a result, the Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a fish possession ban and a consumption advisory for various portions of the affected segments of the Upper Trinity River (Segment 0805), the Lower West Fork Trinity River (Segment 0841), the Clear Fork Trinity River Below Benbrook Lake (segment 0829), and the West Fork Trinity River Below Lake Worth (Segment 0806). The combined watersheds of all four segments cover 1,540 square miles.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group chemicals that share a common structure called biphenyl, but vary in the number and location of attached chlorine atoms. Prior to discovery of its toxicity in the early 1970s, PCBs were widely used in electrical equipment and sealants.PCBs are linked to increased rates of certain cancers in rats, mice, and other study animals, suggesting they are probably cancer-causing in humans.

The goal of this project is to assess the sources and extent of PCB contamination in fish, with the ultimate goal of making it safe to eat fish caught in the affected segments.

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Public Participation

The TCEQ actively seeks the participation of local stakeholders. The North Central Texas Council of Governments Exit the TCEQ is coordinating public participation in this project.

Project Documents

Help downloading files.

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Trinity River PCBs project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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