City of Coalgate flushing Iron out of water

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COALGATE, OK -- Some Coalgate residents say when they turn on their taps brown water flows out and they are concerned it could be dangerous to their health, but city officials say there is no need to worry.

City officials say they test the water daily at their labs and send samples of city water to the Department of Environmental Quality every month. They say results have not shown any health hazard impurities in the water. However, they say excess Iron is causing the city's water to turn brown and say they are currently working to fix the problem.

Several residents say their tap water has been turning their toilets, bathtubs, even their laundry brown. Dianne Hogue is one of those residents.

"Fill up a tub full of water to take a bath in and you can't see the bottom of the tub," Hogue said.

City Manager Roger Cosper says the water is safe and that the color is simply caused by an excess of iron.

"It's not pretty to look at, and it's not good for your laundry if you have whites. It will sure turn them brown. It's not a health issue. It's just a discoloration, something you just don't want to see," Cosper said.

Cosper says they are currently flushing iron out of the water system, which pushes more iron through the pipes causing the water to appear even darker.

"The last time we did this was in April and we did not do it very extensively because we just didn't have the extra water in April because, you know we were in the middle of the drought at that time. Now we're able to actually do it the way it ought to be done," Cosper said.

Cosper says over the next few days the water should begin to run clear. Scott Wright has a geology lab in downtown Coalgate and tested the water himself. The results showed water before flushing had high Iron levels and the water from after flushing revealed normal levels.

"The county is really trying hard trying to fix it, and I just have proof positive what they're doing is working," Wright said.

Houge says she has already noticed a difference in the color of her water since flushing began, and says she knows the city is working hard to get the water back to normal.

Coalgate public schools gave students bottled water Monday and turned off faucets and fountains due to the water's brown color.