Barnsdall water usage curtailed by boil order

Mike Erwinmerwin@examiner-enterprise.com

BARNSDALL — A mandatory boil order went into effect here Friday and curtailed local water usage throughout the weekend.

Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality issued the emergency boil order after high turbidity levels clouded the town’s drinking water. The order affected approximately 1,000 persons, including more than 200 served by Osage County Rural Water Districts No. 5 and No. 15. Customers were instructed to heat water to a full, rolling boil for one minute before using it for drinking, in food preparation, for dishwashing, teeth brushing, etc.

The agency said routine monitoring of Barnsdall’s drinking water revealed levels as high as 11.2 nephelometric turbidity units. This was more than double the highest acceptable level (5 NTU) and far exceeded the standard of 1 NTU.

“Because of these high levels of turbidity, there is an increased chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms,” the environmental order stated.

Barnsdall Mayor Brock Moore helped alert the community about the emergency Friday as he was working to get the problem resolved. The water issues caused local restaurants to shut down Saturday. On Monday, Moore said schools might cancel classes until the boil order is rescinded.

Residents were able to fill water containers from a 2,000-gallon tanker that the Oklahoma National Guard brought to town Saturday and parked behind the local library. Osage County Emergency Managament Director Jerry Roberts helped arrange that emergency measure.