April 24, 2013

Common plant life contributes to Chickasha water's unique taste, smell

CHICKASHA — Algae blooms that die and are pulled into the water piping  is a major contributing factor to the taste and smell of Chickasha's tap water Director of Public Works Larry Fuchs said.

Currently, Chickasha draws its water from Ft. Cobb Lake, a reservoir west of Anadarko. The piping extends out 100 yards, which draws water from a shallow depth, hindering the quality of the liquid.

"It's about 80 degrees where we pump the water, which allows the algae to bloom," Fuchs said. "If we move the pipe out further, we will be able to draw better quality water from the depths."

Although no timetable is set to extend the pipes, Mayor Hank Ross said the city council has already voted on looking into bids for the project.

Fuchs said further depth mapping needs to take place before extending the pipe can and he has yet to speak to an engineer about the project.

Ross said the reservoir's lack of complete dependency on rain water is a huge benefit for the citizens of Chickasha.

"We have one of the best reservoirs in the state because it is fed by the Rush Springs aquifer," Ross said.  

The pipes that draw water from Ft. Cobb are close to five decades old, said Fuchs and contain asbestos insulation that does not pose a danger to Chickasha residents.

"The danger of asbestos is when it gets airborne," Fuchs said. "The only time we would have a problem is if a worker is physically working on a peep and they cut it into it and breathe the asbestos into their lungs."

Should a portion of the pipe breakdown, or spring a leak, Chickasha draws its water from a holding pond in Anadarko that is stocked with at least 30 days of usable water, said Fuchs.

"If a leak is detected, we shut it down for repair," he said.

Respondents to a question about Chickasha's water on The Express-Star Facebook said the taste and smell have been a problem for years.

"My kids won't drink it at all," Christie Leann Bard wrote. "I will only if I'm about to die of thirst and that's all there is."

Other residents said they have taken the initiative to filter the water themselves.

"When we moved back to Chickasha, one of the first things we had installed was a Culligan water filter system," Gina Zhidov wrote. "I at least wanted safe water to cook, drink. Recently thinking about getting water softeners installed in the showers. My skin is so terribly dry from the hard water."

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