- Ada, Oklahoma

November 21, 2013

Water contamination

City issues boil order for raw-water line users

Eric Swanson Staff Writer

Ada — By Eric Swanson

The Ada News

Ada officials are asking people who tap into the city’s raw water line to boil their water before using it.

A recent water sample showed that E. coli — a microbe that indicates possible contamination from  human and animal waste — is present in Byrd’s Mill Spring which is the city’s main source of drinking water. Micro-organisms in human or animal waste can cause health problems, including diarrhea, cramps, nausea and headaches.

The micro-organisms may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, elderly people and people with severely compromised immune systems. However, organisms in drinking water are not the only source of those symptoms.

People who experience symptoms may want to seek medical advice, and those at increased risk should consult their doctor about drinking water.

The discovery of E. coli prompted officials to worry about the city’s raw water line which carries untreated water from the spring to the treatment plant near the tennis courts, city attorney Frank Stout said Thursday. Those concerns prompted the city to issue the boil order for about 75 people using raw water which is not treated by the city at the source.

The boil order does not apply to people who live within the city limits or have a water treatment system, Stout said.

“Rural water districts receive treated water,” he said. “Citizens inside the city of Ada receive treated water. Only if you get your water from the raw water line from Byrd’s Mill to the treatment facility is there a concern.”

Stout said the city has alerted the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality about the problem and notified customers using the raw water line.

Those customers should bring water to a rolling boil and let it boil for one minute, then let it cool before using. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water, making it safe for use.

Customers should use boiled or bottled water for cooking, drinking, making ice or other tasks. The boil order will remain in effect until further notice.

Stout said the city is taking additional water samples to identify the source of contamination, and officials are working with the Department of Environmental Quality to fix the problem. However, he said the city may not be able to determine the exact cause.

“We may just have to eliminate what we know we can do and see if that works,” he said.

For more information, contact public relations specialist Lisa Bratcher at 436-8133 or visit City Hall, 213 S. Townsend. Guidelines for reducing the risk of infection from microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.