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Waurika To Overhaul Water Treatment Plant

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Waurika, Ok_A recent fine of $37,000 led the Waurika City Council to vote on a $3.4 million overhaul to its water treatment plant.

The fine was issued by the Department of Environmental Quality, due to high levels of t-t-h-m, a chemical that could be a cancer- causing agent when consumed in mass quantities. It has been an ongoing problem for the past 7 years.

Waurika City Manager, Chuck Brown said, "If we continue in non-compliance, it can go up to $10,000 a day. And you know most people say, I don't want to spend that $3 million dollars. Well at $10,000 a day you can have a heck of a water project."

The $10,000 daily fines would be added to the $37,000 fine the city has already received. Waurika only had to pay $7,500 of that fine because the City Council approved a plan to overhaul its water treatment plant.

"Yes. It is something that we need to do. It is something that we are going to do. And we just took the first step Monday night as far as on our journey to a finished product", Brown said.

Currently, Waurika uses chlorine to disinfect its water. But that chlorine binds with the large number of organic compounds in Waurika Lake and produces high levels of t-t-h-m.

"Our level is about 200% above what they allow so we have to do something", Brown said.

However, he wants to remind citizens the water is not toxic for everyday use.

He said, "These are recommended safe levels, and that is what we are trying to get to. And the water is not bad. I mean it is safe to drink. But we are just trying to make it better and make a healthier alternative."

The new plan will transition the city to a conventional treatment plant with clarifiers. This is the best option for the city's water source. It will also put t-t-h-m levels well below the amount allowed by law.

Brown said, "Waurika is just an active water source. They have got lots of organic carbons in them, and it is just something we are going to have to deal with."

City officials plan on applying for grants to offset the overall cost. It will take at least 2 years for the project to be completed.

 

 

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