Yellow water still present in Lawton after switch

Yellow water still present in Lawton after switch
High levels of mangese turned some Lawton residents' water yellow. (Source Casey Murley)
High levels of mangese turned some Lawton residents' water yellow. (Source Casey Murley)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Lawton officials say days after they switched Lawton's water source from Lake Ellsworth to Waurika Lake, residents are still complaining of yellow water.

Complaints started coming earlier in the week that yellow and brown water was coming from the tap. The city recognized extremely high levels of the mineral manganese two months ago and had started treating it, but after seeing little change, they decided to make the switch.

The City of Lawton said they wanted to make the switch before the water turned, but were delayed because of a broken water main at Waurika Lake. As far as the lingering yellow water is concerned, officials say it has to be completely flushed from the pipes before residents will start seeing clear water.

Afsaneh Jabbar, the city's water and wastewater director, says they cannot control the concentration of manganese in the lakes. She says just like the seasons, it is something that comes and goes.

"Usually, it's high in the summer months. What the period is, sometimes it's one week, sometimes it's two weeks, and right now this is the second month it has been high," Jabbar explained.

She says they switch water sources once it gets too high. She says it takes a lot of chemistry to help manage the levels, and they're washing out the filters more often, but they can only do so much before deciding to let mother nature take its course.

"We've managed it very quickly and though we knew it was coming up, but we were still treating it with high dosages of chlorine dioxide. So, we were trying to manage it as much as we possible, and basically Monday was the day that it was outside of our ability to manage it," Jabbar said.

Jabbar says the switch was made even though the discolored water isn't harmful to your health. She says the only effect it does have is discoloring your laundry. She says they have received around 20 calls, and have sent distribution workers to the homes to help flush out the old water.

She says residents who are still having problems, should call them to fix it.

"There is nothing they can do except not do their laundry when they see that there is a little bit of discoloration in the water. If they wait until that has been remedied, then there won't be any effect on their laundry. White laundry will be discolored," Jabbar said.

Jabbar said the water that was discolored was only reaching the southeast side of Lawton, since the other city water plant uses water from Lake Lawtonka.

Manganese can be found in various foods like spices, herbs and nuts, and it naturally occurs in soil and rocks.

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