The quality of the City of Altus drinking water is better today, due to the efforts of the city officials, staff and professional consultants working together, according to a water quality report.
The report said the city has invested more than $9 million in water system projects in the last 18 months, leading to clean, reliable and the sufficient amount of water and demonstrating that has been a top priority for the local leaders.
“It is no secret that the City of Altus has faced serious challenges regarding our water supply, but we are very pleased with the progress that has been made over the last couple of years,” said Johnny Barron, public works director. “After considerable efforts and substantial investments, we are now producing the highest quality water in the history of our city. However, we are still under the shadow of previous violations. We must have 12 months of compliant sample data to show compliance. During this 12 months, we are required to send out quarterly notices about elevated levels of THMs (Trihalomethanes). Even though our problems have been fixed, our consumers will still see notices about previous violations until we have 12 months of compliance.”
The city collects samples daily and weekly as needed to evaluate the effectiveness of water treatment, as well as quarterly for Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality or ODEQ compliance.
Annually, the city issues a water quality report to summarize results of compliance sampling and report any violations.
In 2015, there were three violations.
Total Trihalomethanes or TTHMs are a group of organic compounds formed as a byproduct of chlorine disinfection. Free chlorine reacts with organic chemicals in the water to form THMs.
Since 2015, TTHM levels have been significantly reduced by restarting the Reverse Osmosis Treatment Facility, which is very effective at removing organics.
Total Organic Carbon or TOC is a base element of organic compounds. TOC is not harmful, but is regulated as a source for THM formation when water is disinfected with chlorine. The TTHM and TOC violations have the same cause and remedy. The Reverse Osmosis Plant reduces TTHMs by removing TOC prior to chlorine disinfection.
TTHM/TOC violations were a chronic problem over the last several years. According to the report, the problem has been fixed, but will continued to be monitored.
Chlorite is fed into the water during treatment as chlorine dioxide. This is used instead of chlorine to reduce the formation of TTHMs while preventing biological growth in the filter media.
This is considered a one-time minor violation. Corrective action involved adjustment and monitoring of the chlorine dioxide feed system.
The entire 2015 Water Quality Report can be viewed at www.altusok.gov.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.