COTTON COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - The drinking water in Cotton County will soon see significant improvements but with those improvements will come significant increases in customers' water bills.
The water in Cotton County is right at or above the legal limit for the amount of fluoride, arsenic and nitrate. Those three chemicals can be very dangerous, so a new water treatment plant is being built to remove them from the water. But unfortunately, that plant will cost a pretty penny.
David Rodriguez with Cotton County Rural Water District Two said there is an ongoing problem with the water in Cotton County.
"I've been here four and a half years and every quarter we've had to put out public notices about the arsenic levels in our water," Rodriguez said.
Cotton County Rural Water District Two serves most of Cotton County, as well as much of southern Comanche County. In an effort to fix the water problems, they received a $5 million loan to build a water treatment plant, a blending station and a new well. Without those upgrades to filter out the nitrate, arsenic and fluoride, public health issues could arise.
"Nitrate is an immediate health concern. Arsenic and fluoride from our north wells is more of a, can cause problems over time," Rodriguez said.
To help fund the construction, customers, on average, will see increases between $16 and $20 per month.
"The benefit to our project definitely outweighs the cost. Again, nobody ever wants to see a rate increase. Everything from fuel to groceries goes up and usually water is the last thing that there is an increase on," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said the loan will be paid out over 30 years and ultimately means good things for residents the water district serves.
"We've worked very hard to get to this point, the benefit to our membership, to our customers will really be good," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said construction will begin in October. Construction will take roughly 13 months and is expected to be finished in November 2019.