A letter released by Tahlequah Public Works Authority on Thursday, July 2, admits the utility did not meet water treatment requirements in October 2019, but indicated the issue was resolved the following month.
The notice was for violation in treatment techniques for cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic disease that causes watery diarrhea, among other symptoms.
The letter, dated June 16, was attributed to Jerry D. Linn Jr., TPWA water plant facilities superintendent. It states the plant experienced turbidity issues, with turbidity defined as “any suspended matter that is in water.”
Cryptosporidium can be found in water, food, soil, or on surfaces or dirty hands that have been contaminated with the feces of humans or animals infected with the parasite, according to the letter.
As crews worked to clean filters and measuring equipment, and pinpoint the problem, one of the operators discovered two turbidimeter wires were crossed and a filter had been connected to the wrong turbidimeter.
“While cleaning the filter and meters for filter No. 12, it turned out filter 12 was hooked improperly to filter 10 meter by the company that installed the meters. Filter 10 was dirty, giving us false data,” Linn wrote in the letter. “We believe this to be resolved as of November 2019, when the operators switched the wiring to the proper filters and the proper turbidimeter had been cleaned, and our filters are reading at levels well below minimum for compliance.”
TPWA stated this is not an emergency and the public does not need to take any action. Those who have concerns about their health are asked to see their health care providers. For guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes, call the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.
Customers who have questions are asked to call Linn at 918-456-2123, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.