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Broken Arrow Residents Asked To Curb Water Usage Due To Algae Build Up

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Algae is blooming on the Verdigris River - and clogging the filter system in BA's new water treatment plant. Algae is blooming on the Verdigris River - and clogging the filter system in BA's new water treatment plant.
The new Verdigris River Water Treatment plant. The new Verdigris River Water Treatment plant.
Pools are open by splash pads are closed. Pools are open by splash pads are closed.
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - The City of Broken Arrow is asking residents to voluntarily conserve water for the next three days.

The cause: rising heat and a high concentration of algae in the Verdigris River are affecting production at the new water treatment plant. The water being pulled into the water treatment plant is clogging the filters faster than technicians can clean them out.

"Because of the algae problem, the plant is pumping treated water at a reduced capacity. Essentially, the plant is sending less treated water into the City for customers to use. This situation is compounded by increased demand due to the weather," a news release states.

It's a plea for patience. Broken Arrow city leaders are asking residents to conserve water until the algae can be removed.

"It's hot and people are using more water than the plant can keep up with," said Krista Flasch with the City of Broken Arrow.


5/28/2014 Related Story: Broken Arrow Using New $60 Million Water Treatment Plant

The new $60 million plant can churn out 20 million gallons of water a day, but the heat means water is at high demand. As people turn on their faucets, an unusually large amount of algae from the Verdigris River -- the city's main water source -- is clogging microscopic fiber filters.

"It takes more than six hours just to clean one membrane rack, and there are ten total racks to clean, so within three days, we should get caught up," Flasch said.

Residents are asked to "significantly limit" outdoor water usage such as watering lawns or filling swimming pools during the next three days.

City-operated swimming pools will stay open, but splash pads will close.

Broken Arrow resident Randy Pond was fishing at the Verdigris River Saturday. He says it doesn't bother him.

"Lot of people are wanting to fill their pools and stuff up, little kiddie pools, and let their kids have a good time," he said. "I don't see why they couldn't just take them to a lake and let them go swimming there."

Although, he does hope more algae in the river means a greater chance at a bite.

Yeah, hopefully it'll help me out here today, but so far not really," Randy Pond said.

The city is looking into why there's a high concentration of algae in the river. The city assures residents it will not run out of treated water and says the water is safe to drink.

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