Heavy Rains Lead To Water Contamination

Thursday, June 28th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

Bartlesville city leaders are asking people to conserve water after a rain related problem led to a shortage. There's been so much rain up in Washington County that it changed the chemical balance of Hudson Lake, which is where Bartlesville gets its drinking water. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the problem became so severe that the chemicals used to treat the water just weren't strong enough to do the job.

A stack of pizza boxes is a sure sign of trouble at the water plant, because the staff is too busy to leave. They were at the Bartlesville water treatment plant all night trying to compensate for a sudden influx of muddy runoff into the city's water source. It overwhelmed the treatment system so the output was shutoff.

"So from 4 o'clock this morning on we were not producing water to put into the tanks, the storage system and the water distribution system. So we're without water in the system itself,” said City Manager Ed Gordon.

The incoming water was too dirty to be cleaned using the usual process, so drums of soda ash were brought in to help, and it worked. While the staff continues to test the water and adjust the chemicals the production is slowly coming back, but so far it's not enough to meet the typical demand.

"So, for the next 24 hours I'd ask the citizens to be very judicious in their use of water, and be conservative," Gordon said. "Progressively we'll get this thing back up and going the way it normally should."

Bartlesville supplies nearly all the water for Washington County, so that conservation message applies to everyone. Typically the demand is about six to seven million gallons a day, right now the plant can produce about two million gallons a day. They're asking people to conserve, and just be careful using water over the next 24 hours, but they expect to increase the production and certainly be back to normal by Saturday morning.

Watch the video: Rain Leads To Water Shortage