Letter to Jenks residents concerning their drinking water has some concerned

Monday, April 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Water problems in Jenks. People who live there, got a letter saying there is coliform bacteria in their water supply. It's not "what" the letter said as much, as "when" they got it. That upset people.

News on Six reporter Steve Berg says the letter says a sample of Jenks water tested positive for coliform bacteria on January 7th. But people only got the letter within the past week.

Jenks resident Beth Schroeder drank a lot of the city's water during the three months or so since it tested positive for coliform bacteria. And she wants to know why she's just now finding out about it. "How come it took so long for them to notify the people of Jenks? They took the samples in the first part of January and we just received the notice the other day."

The city sent out the letter after they were notified by state officials to do so. It's not clear whether they needed to wait for the state to tell them to do it.

But the bottom line say Jenks officials is they drink the same water as the rest of Jenks. And if the water was dangerous, they wouldn't have waited. Loyd Bell with Jenks Public Works: "If this had been a problem, we would have notified the public immediately though the radio, TV, media, newspaper, any way that we thought we could have."

Coliform bacteria is relatively harmless. It's only dangerous for people who have extremely weak immune systems. It can sometimes indicate a potential for more dangerous bacteria, but none of that was found. Regardless, residents like Schroeder think they should let people know sooner. "They still need to notify everybody because it does indicate that if you have health problems that you need to consult your physician."

Officials say the water supply might not have even had the coliform bacteria to begin with. They say samples can sometimes be contaminated by the people taking the sample if it's handled incorrectly.