Tests Show Lithium In The Groundwater Near Oologah PSO Plant

Tuesday, February 26th 2019, 7:08 pm
By: News On 6

New test results from PSO show groundwater near the Oologah power plant tested high for the chemical lithium.

PSO said they’re not overly concerned but they’re already planning more testing to see if a plan needs to be put in place to treat the groundwater. 

Lithium is just one of 21 different chemicals PSO tests for near the Oologah power plant.

"Out of all the things we tested for, this is the one chemical at that one location that came up as being elevated from groundwater protection standards,” PSO Spokesperson Stan Whiteford said. 

Whiteford said the groundwater in question is stemming from the "bottom ash pond,” which collects what's left over after coal is burned at the plant. But Whiteford said there's no immediate reason for concern. 

"There's no indication the groundwater near the bottom ash pond moves off-site,” he said. 

Plus, Whiteford said Oologah residents get their drinking water from the lake, not from well water. 

"We have absolutely no reason to believe any drinking water was effected in that area at all,” he said. 

The plant itself looks to stand alone, but Whiteford said they will still contact anybody with a water well within a mile radius of the plant. 

"For peace of mind, for someone within a mile radius of the plant, and they do have a well for some reason...we'll still go out and test that for them,” Whiteford said. 

News On 6 talked to Oologah mayor George Peters and county commissioner Steve Hendrix.  They didn't want to go on camera, but Hendrix said PSO put his fears at ease, and he trusts how they're handling the matter.

PSO said the last coal unit will shut down in 2026, which means they’ll stop putting any material in the bottom ash pond, and the site will close. 

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