LONE GROVE, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is lifting some restrictions for parts of Lone Grove that receive water from the City of Lone Grove.
Residents north of Highway 70 or south of Highway 70 and west of Meridian can return to normal water use (Zone A on attached map). There are no indications in that area of the presence of herbicide or bacterial contamination.
For residents who live north or south of Myall Road, south of Highway 70, west of Brock Road, and east of Meridian (Zone B on map), DEQ recommends the following:
· Use water to bathe
· Use water to shower
· Use water to do laundry
· Use water to flush toilets
· Do not use water to drink or cook
Sampling results have indicated the water line along Brock Road was heavily contaminated with herbicide. DEQ is currently collecting additional samples throughout Zone B on the attached map.
About eight houses east of Brock Road are still without water. Water will not be restored to those houses until it is determined to be safe.
All of the problems started on Wednesday of last week, when someone improperly filling an herbicide tank and then a water main broke, sucking those chemicals into the public water system.
“We’ve had a lot of questions about why is the water sampling taking so long. I know it's not going as quickly as residents would like it to go, but we are working as quickly as we can, and our number one priority is protecting public health," says Skylar McElhaney with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
On Wednesday morning, two things happened which contributed to the problem: first, there was a water main break, which caused a loss of service to some, and a loss of pressure to others. The second incident involved herbicide somehow making its way into the main that was broken.
It is unclear exactly how those chemicals got into the system, but crews working to fix the break became aware of it when the water turned a bright blue color.
That was how they knew trouble was brewing.
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality shut Lone Grove’s water supply off after a pesticide spill Wednesday afternoon.
Classes at Lone Grove schools were canceled Thursday and Friday.
Here is a written statement from Lone Grove city manager Marianne Elfert last week:
"The City of Lone Grove has been forced to shut down their city water supply at approximately 5 PM on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 to protect their water supply.
There was an earlier water main break that had resulted in homes and businesses in the Southeastern part of the City (Brock Road) being without water. During the morning, we had a small quantity of herbicide leak into the broken system just north of the water main break. The main is being repaired and will be thoroughly flushed and tested by DEQ before the water is turned back on. The people living south of the break have not had water so there is no contamination possibility. The main areas of Lone Grove are also not contaminated; however, the water must be shut down in order to protect our current water sources and to protect our citizens. There will be drinking water available at the Fire Department and please bring your own containers. We apologize for the inconvenience and problems this will cause, but the health and welfare of our citizens comes first. We will notify citizens and turn the water back on as soon as testing confirms that the system is safe. You may have water, but please do no use it until further notice. SOWC water and private wells are not affected. We will notify the media as soon as the water is turned back on. Lone Grove District Schools are also shut down tomorrow."