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Lake Worth Watershed

This is a completed project to improve water quality by reducing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Lake Worth. Together, the adopted total maximum daily load (TMDL) and the approved implementation plan (I-Plan) are the road map to improving water quality in the watershed.

photo of Lake Worth
Lake Worth
Photograph courtesy of the
Fort Worth Water Department

County: Tarrant
Parameter: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish tissue
River Basin: Trinity
Segment: 0807, 0808

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Background and Goals

Lake Worth (Segment 0807) is a 3,558-acre impoundment of the West Fork Trinity River located in northwest Tarrant County. The lake has a conservation capacity of approximately 37,000 acre-feet, and drains a 2,064 square-mile watershed. Water quality testing found that fish in Lake Worth (Segment 0807) are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), resulting in an advisory to the public in 2002 to limit their consumption of fish caught in the lake.

The goal of this project is to reduce PCBs to levels that will make it safe to eat fish from the lake. The goal of a TMDL is to restore the full use of a water body that has limited quality in relation to one or more of its uses. The TMDL defines an environmental target by determining the extent to which a certain pollutant must be reduced in order to attain and maintain the affected use. Based on this environmental target, the state develops an implementation plan to mitigate anthropogenic sources of pollution within the watershed and restore full use of the water body.

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The TMDL I-Plan relies heavily on cleanup efforts at Air Force Plant No. 4 (AFP4), located on the south side of the lake. AFP4 is undergoing cleanup under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. Also under the I-Plan, fish tissue in Lake Worth is sampled periodically to monitor the effectiveness of cleanup efforts.

The DSHS conducted the first fish tissue monitoring under the I-Plan in October 2008. Based on that monitoring data, the DSHS extended the advisory to include Segment 0808. The second fish tissue monitoring effort under the I-Plan was conducted November 2016. In March 2018, the DSHS issued advisory ADV-60, limiting consumption of seven fish species due to dioxins and PCBs.

However, the overall mean concentration of PCBs in all fish has declined. The mean concentration for the 80 samples collected in 2008 was .064 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) PCBs. The mean concentration for the 80 samples collected in 2016 was .032 mg/kg PCBs.

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Total Maximum Daily Load

The commission adopted this TMDL on August 10, 2005. The EPA approved it on October 13, 2005, at which time it became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

Revisions to TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed. Revisions to the load allocations in TMDLs are made via the state’s Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP), which is updated quarterly. Revisions are made to TMDLs in one of two ways:

  • Updates are made to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or revised wasteload allocations, permits that have been canceled or have expired, or changed facility names.
  • Addenda are created to add load allocations for assessment units that are impaired by the same pollutant or condition, within the same watershed as in the original TMDL report.

Both updates and addenda are provided in the same units of measure used in the original TMDL.


An additional TMDL for Lake Worth has been added by addendum, submitted as an update to the state’s Water Quality Management Plan.

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Implementation Plan

The Commission approved this I-Plan on August 23, 2006.

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For More Information

For further information regarding the TMDLs or I-Plan, please email and mention the Lake Worth PCB project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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