Quality of Bartlesville's water remains the same, while the quantity continues to drop

Friday, April 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Some Bartlesville residents tell us they're concerned about the quality of their drinking water. News on Six medical reporter Tami Marler explains, many are looking for their own alternatives.

Scott McDowell: "I've been in Bartlesville for 24 years and I've never seen anything quite this drastic." Residents have already cut back water use by nearly 20% to conserve what's left of Lake Hulah. While Copan Lake will help get the city through the summer. Some are wondering how long the troubles will last.

"I have a two and a half gallon water filtration thing and we drink about 3 or 4 of 'em a day between two of us." The city of Bartlesville is receiving water from Copan Lake, through the Caney River. And some area residents are wondering if it's affecting water quality as much as it is the taste.

"Now it's starting to taste like Tulsa water, so I hate to say that but it's starting to taste like Tulsa water, and I'll just go ahead and buy bottled water." QuikTrip officials say many customers are opting for bottled water, not just to conserve, but in some residents' words, because tap water has started tasting like dirt. Aquarius Water Products supplies Bartlesville. They say their customers have also mentioned a change in taste, and orders are up for treated water.

Chaing Benjamin with Aquarius Water Products: "It's a basic necessity; something they need and something we're fortunate to be able to provide for them."

The Department of Environmental Quality says the only way to explain the taste is a supply switch on Tuesday from Lake Hulah to Copan, but the water flows through the same river, it's treated at the same plant, and held to the same level of quality.

For now, that's good enough for Scott McDowell. "When I don't get clean in the shower, yes it will start concerning me." Until then, folks in Bartlesville keep hoping the rain will stay awhile. Bartlesville residents and businesses have cut water consumption back to 6.5-million gallons a day, but summer is coming, and the city averages nearly 20 million gallons on hot days. If rain this weekend doesn't provide drought relief for people in Bartlesville, Copan Lake will.

In a meeting Friday with city leaders, the US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to sell water at a discount rate to the city for the next 90 days. After filing paperwork, the earliest the city could get the water would be next week.