Cellphones, chairs found as San Antonio River is drained, cleaned

Alamo Street between Market Street and Commerce Street is presently closed for river cleaning

SAN ANTONIO – If you have been to the San Antonio River Walk this week, you might have noticed a big change as the river has been drained for both cleaning and minor construction.

In the past, the plan was to drain the river each and every year, but officials said because of development upstream near the museum reach area they only need to drain and clean the area every two years or so.

Dumpsters were filled with many items collected on Tuesday — inside were chairs, lights and even a stroller. Some of the popular items found at the bottom of the river include cellphones, laptops and in previous years — scooters.

The draining and cleaning takes about a week to do, and there is a strategical reason as to why the drain happens in January.

“There’s low attendance in tourism, so we don’t see as many tourists. The environment allows us to be able to work when it’s a little nippy and a little cold. If we were in the middle of August that would be way too hot,” Nefi Garza, assistant director of public works for city of San Antonio said.

Garza said it’s best to clean out the river during the winter because the odor emanating from it in the summer would be more profound.

On street level, city officials are using a crane to move some of the items that they find in the river. They have shut down Alamo Street, between Market Street and Commerce Street this week for the cleaning.

So if you’re out and about downtown, be aware of the road closure.

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.