Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 24, 2013

Water quality woes

No recent complaints lodged with TPWA about water quality

TAHLEQUAH — Despite occasional complaints about the taste of water supplied by the Tahlequah Public Works Authority, local administrators say it is safe for drinking and household use.

The Daily Press received an e-mail Oct. 14 from local resident George Ritzhaupt, who said the water at his residence in Southridge “tasted terrible for the past three weeks.” He wrote that a call to the TPWA yielded suggestions to boil water and refrigerate it for drinking purposes.

During the Oct. 11 meeting of the TPWA, Mike Doublehead, general manager, reported that “a few complaints” were submitted by customers over the taste of the water. He attributed the problem to algae and turnover in Lake Tenkiller.

Called “destratification” in the utility business, lake turnover essentially equalizes the water temperatures at different depths and often occurs in the fall. Surface water, receiving less sunlight, becomes cooler and more dense. It sinks, forcing deeper water nearer the surface.

Lake turnover can sometimes affect drinking water, but an earthy, grassy or metallic taste is usually caused by algae blooms.

Algae blooms are normal events in reservoirs, and occur in warm or cold weather. Though they cause an unpleasant taste, they do not affect the quality of drinking water.

“This is a problem many utility companies have to deal with every few years,” Doublehead said. “From the standpoint of a general manager, I can assure our customers that the water is quality compliant at all times. Because we received so few complaints, I am assuming this was a short-lived event at Lake Tenkiller. We have not received any complaints lately; it has been a good two weeks.”

Rex Cox, a board member for Cherokee County Rural Water District No. 8, said one complaint of poor quality water had been received in recent weeks, but the problem was a line repair.

“It was a single residence that had water with a bad color and odor,” Cox said. “It was near the line break. The water is OK now. A line that is broken or serviced usually needs to be flushed out.”

That district, which services the Briggs area, is one of the county rural districts receiving its water from the TPWA.

“I’m on Briggs water myself, and I haven’t noticed anything unusual at all,” Cox said. “I do drink the water, but maybe my taste is different or the problem is in a different area.”  

Regarding water quality problems at his home, Ritzhaupt further wrote: “With all the advancement in technology, filters and chemicals you would think the water would taste and smell good coming from a new [Tenkiller water intake] facility. The water tastes like dirt or pond water and has an odor when bathing or showering.”

The TPWA uses the common method of chlorine disinfection on its water. The treatment of ozonation, more common in Europe, can greatly reduce the annoying taste of algae blooms.

Treating water with ozone can be advantageous, but it is also expensive. Ozone is unstable and must be produced at the treatment site. Another treatment option is ultraviolet radiation purification, which would not affect the water’s taste.

A study by the Environmental Protection Agency estimated the cost to operate UV and ozonation water treatments as three and four times more than chlorination, respectively.

Doublehead and Cox urged customers to report any water with a peculiar taste, odor or color.

“No. 1, they need to call our office,” Cox said. “If there is a problem, we can run tests, and we can have the Environmental Protection Agency test if we are not satisfied with our own.”


For information or to rerport poor water quality, call TPWA at (918) 456-2564. RWD No. 8 can be reached at (918) 453-9934.


Text Only
Local News
  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee Nation law eases restrictions in gaming facilities

    The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday night voted to reduce regulations in its gaming facilities, but to conform to National Indian Gaming Commission minimum internal control standards.
    The measure ultimately passed 9-7, with District 1 Councilor Joe Byrd abstaining.
    Before discussion, Councilor Lee Keener moved to table the item, saying neither he nor members of the gaming commission had sufficient time to review the act. Councilor Cara Cowan-Watts seconded the motion, with a friendly amendment.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boy again caught with stolen items

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies say a juvenile caught with stolen property several times in the past was recently discovered to have more missing items.
    Deputies took a report over the weekend from a man who said his garage was burglarized while he was away from his home for an extended time. A number of items were taken, including an air compressor, leaf grinder, leaf blower, extension cords, drill-bit kit, a cordless drill, antique tools, a pressure washer, a machete, an aluminum ladder and a butane lighter torch.

    April 15, 2014

  • hughes-james.jpg Muskogee man caught with drugs at casino

    Cherokee Nation marshals arrested a Muskogee man Sunday after he was allegedly caught with drugs at the Cherokee Casino.
    Deputy marshals were called when security at the casino noticed a man drop a bag of a white, crystal-like substance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tahlequah man charged with hitting vehicle, fleeing

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of hitting another vehicle in downtown Tahlequah and leaving the scene.

    April 15, 2014

  • sp-symposium-Child.jpg Child discusses survival of Native communities

    When Dr. Brenda Child, Ojibwe/Red Lake, tells people she is from the reservation at Red Lake, Minn., she explains, “We’re the ones who didn’t lose our lands.”
    Her tribe’s story is unusual among Native Americans, many of whom have been displaced throughout history. But history is complicated, she said. That’s why, as a historian, she is interested in “the small stor[ies].”
    “I’m someone who can’t really get a grasp of the big picture ... unless I look at the individual stories of people on the ground. How were they living? What shaped their lives?” she asked.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Symposium-Leeds.jpg Developing food security, sovereignty

    When the Cherokees rebuilt their nation 150 years ago following the Trail of Tears, they immediately went to work re-establishing a government, along with higher education and court systems.
    Stacy Leeds, Cherokee citizen and dean of the College of Law at the University of Arkansas, said that while history reveres the Cherokee judges, scholars and lawmakers of the time, most Cherokee citizens were farmers.
    Leeds gave a presentation Friday about tribal governance, land use, food and agriculture police and economic development during the 42nd annual Symposium of the American Indian at Northeastern State University. The luncheon was hosted by the NSU Chapter of American Indian Students in Science and Engineering, and Leeds offered the AISES students food for thought about where their careers could be going.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers