Changes coming to clean up drinking water in Okmulgee County

OKMULGEE COUNTY, Okla. (KOKI) — FOX23 started investigating more than a year ago and now, changes are coming to clean up the drinking water for some in Okmulgee County.

For at least six years, families say they have been getting notices each quarter from Rural Water District 6 in Okmulgee County. They showed violations for exceeding contaminants that are byproducts or disinfecting drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says those contaminants may lead to adverse health effects like liver, kidney problems or cancer if you’re exposed for long periods of time.

Neighbors tell FOX23 the letters say the same thing each time, that the problem will be resolved in a year.

Rural Water District 6 gets their water from the City of Okmulgee’s water treatment plant.

They told FOX23 for months they planned to change how they treat the water and will start using Chloramine. That’s the same way the City of Tulsa treats its water. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) consent order says doing that should eliminate the exceeded contaminants.

The district had told FOX23 the million dollar project was in the final months of completion. The manager told FOX23 they just started cleaning the water with Chloramine August 2. He said he will check samples in September.

The water district checks samples each quarter. For the past year, the contaminants have been too high every quarter. The manager says if the third quarter samples are in good shape, that will help. The DEQ goes by a yearly average. So it could take awhile to bring the average down to technically be in compliance.