MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ The state Department of Environmental Quality has lifted a boil order for water customers in McAlester.
The city provides water to more than 17,000 residents, as well as to the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Rural Water District Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 9 and the Tannehill Rural Water District.
The boil order went into affect Tuesday evening and was lifted on Friday.
The DEQ issued the boil order because McAlester had been out of compliance with new Environmental Protection Agency standards for water turbidity, or cloudiness.
``The water was safe to drink before the standards changed,'' City Manager Randy Green said. ``How can it be safe on Dec. 31 and not safe Jan. 1?''
According to the EPA, turbidity is not generally a health risk, but can cause difficulty with disinfecting procedures.
Higher turbidity levels can mask the presence of some microorganisms, which can cause bacterial infections, the EPA says.