Citizens and community leaders of the Ada area, with direction from the Ada Jobs Foundation and Ada Area Chamber of Commerce, have been conducting a series of meetings to develop a vision of what Ada should be in the future and how to get there. These discussions include many issues such as education, jobs, housing, shopping, business, crime, poverty, beautification and community infrastructure.
None of these objectives can be achieved without a safe, reliable water supply. Most of you have probably read some articles in this newspaper extoling the virtues of Ada’s water supply — Byrd’s Mill Spring and the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. The Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer is unique in that it has been designated a Sole Source Aquifer by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the only such water supply in Oklahoma with that designation. Specifically, that means that the aquifer is the sole or principle source of drinking water in Johnston, Murray and Pontotoc counties, and, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health.
In 2003, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 288, which designated the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer as a Sensitive Sole Source Ground Water Basin, the only such designation, so far, in Oklahoma. About a year ago, the Ada City Council learned of two petroleum pipelines that cross about 21 miles of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, much of that across Byrd’s Mill Spring recharge basin and 1.3 miles of city property. They pass within a mile upgradient of Byrd’s Mill Spring and a few hundred feet of Ada’s three water supply wells. These pipelines (one, Sterling I, is 8 inches in diameter and constructed in 1981, and the other, Sterling II, is 12 inches in diameter and constructed in 1992), traverse about 549 miles from Medford, Okla., to Mont Belvieu, Texas. Now ONEOK, the current owner of these pipelines, plans Sterling III, a 16-inch pipeline that will carry another 11 million gallons per day of liquid natural gas mixtures comprised of ethane, propane, butane, isobutene, propylene, gasoline and raw feed.