Oklahoma City considering water security measures

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

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The city's water sources are not in danger, but officials are still considering applying for federal grant money to protect the water supply.

During its meeting Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council will decide whether they will apply for at least $115,000 in grant money for water security measures.

The money is available through the Environmental Protection Agency, which received supplemental funding to improve the security of the nation's water supply following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The city's water sources are safe, but could use additional security, said Councilman Guy Liebmann, who is also chairman of the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust.

``I don't think we should be overly concerned,'' Liebmann said. ``The gates are locked at the treatment plants and it would take several tanker trucks to affect the water supply.''

The grant money would be used to add security for the city's water systems at Lake Hefner, Lake Stanley Draper and Atoka Lake.

``We have three distribution areas to worry about,'' Liebmann said. ``I hope we can at least get a grant for one of them.''

Congress ordered the EPA to spend nearly $90 million to safeguard municipal water supplies.

The grants are not competitive and the EPA has said it will award grants to all eligible utilities. Smaller municipalities also will be eligible for money but guidelines for that program have yet to be written.

The money can be used to develop a vulnerability assessment, an emergency plan and to plan and design security enhancements. The money cannot be used for construction.

``This is a brand-new deal we're looking at,'' Liebmann said. ``We're still learning how this will work. I would say we're no better or worse off than any other city our size.''