Glencoe responds to notice of violation

Wednesday, December 22nd 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GLENCOE, Okla. (AP) -- A stream that was polluted following a leak in a wastewater lagoon can be brought into compliance with state regulations by rainfall and natural bacterial, according to city officials. Mayor Jack Burnett has responded to a notice of violation issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Officials said the leak occurred Nov. 11 when a contractor lowered the level of the lagoons more than was intended. The breach was repaired Nov.15. "At this point from the data available it would appear the best solution would be to wait for rainfall and natural bacterial action to bring the stream back into compliance," Burnett said in a Nov.22 letter to DEQ. Burnett said the contractor was installing a new discharge structure and rip-rap on the lagoon embankments when he asked to lower the lagoon levels.

The contractor was told that wastewater could be discharged in accordance with the discharge permit. The discharge pipe was a temporary 4-inch line at the top of the embankment that had been in use since the discharge permit was issued in the mid-1980s, the mayor stated. "The contractor apparently did not fully understand the instructions given and lowered the level of the lagoons considerably more than was intended by cutting the dike and this resulted in the bypass," the letter says.

Wastewater flowed north down Oak Creek on the west side of the lagoon. The letter says that the only way to clean the area would be to haul water from some source that did not contain chlorine and flush the stream in that area. At the time of the leak, project engineer Phil Brown estimated 5million gallons of wastewater spilled into Oak Creek, which flows into Bear Creek and ultimately into the Arkansas River.

The city had a permit allowing 37,500 gallons a day to be released into the creek. Brown said the system is more than 20 years old and is in disrepair. It has overflowed before and received a temporary patch two years ago. The cost of updating the sewer system at Glencoe was estimated to be $120,000.