water

StateImpact Oklahoma
8:43 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Can Coal Plants Dump Unlimited Amounts Of Toxic Metals Into OK’s Waterways?

Grand Riverkeeper Earl Hatley stands at the edge of the GRDA power plant's property near Chouteau, Okla
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s a report out from a group of environmental organizations including Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club that says there are “essentially no limits” on the amounts toxic metals coal-fired power plants can dump into Oklahoma’s waterways.

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Water Quality
9:24 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Microscopic Dangers Lurk In Oklahoma Lake Water

Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma
Credit GRDA

The Department of Environmental Quality is urging Oklahomans to be wary of microorganisms when swimming or boating on the state's untreated lakes and streams during the long Labor Day weekend.

DEQ says certain kinds of bacteria, viruses and protozoa can occur naturally in waterways while others are carried from a variety of sources. Some can cause mild problems such as ear infections, swimmer's itch and gastrointestinal disorders. Others can cause rare but serious conditions such as eye infections and some forms of meningitis.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:06 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Months Later, Oklahoma’s Salt Fork River Fish Kill Is Still a Mystery

The mysterious Salt Fork fish kill is worrying residents, river-goers and anglers like Baron Owens, whose dad lives on a stretch of the river near Ponca City.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

A summer fish kill in north-central Oklahoma is worrying anglers, river-goers and nearby water users.

The Salt Fork River die-off was massive and, still months after it was reported, mysterious. Researchers and state authorities say they still don’t know who or what the killer is.

Two fish kills were reported to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, records show. The first one on June 3, upstream near Lamont; the second on June 17, near Tonkawa. The two fish kills are likely related, so state authorities are investigating them as one event, officials from the DEQ, state Department of Wildlife Conservation and Corporation Commission tell StateImpact.

Listen to the story from Joe Wertz.

“In the areas that overlapped during the kills, there is absolutely zero aquatic life other than turtles,” says Spencer Grace, a state game warden stationed in Kay County.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:06 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Plan To Clean Up Dirty Lake Thunderbird Calls For Pollution Cuts In Three Cities

A swimmer in Norman's Lake Thunderbird.
Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

Moore, Norman and Oklahoma City are the primary polluters of Lake Thunderbird, a sensitive drinking water source classified as “impaired” by the Environmental Protection Agency, new data show.

State and municipal water and environmental authorities have been working on a plan to clean up the lake, colloquially referred to as “dirtybird” for its murky appearance and weird smell, which still hasn’t met Clean Water Act target dates from 30 years ago.

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Water
1:57 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

State and Tribes Still Wrestling Over Water Rights in Oklahoma

Sardis Lake
Credit Olliehigh / Flickr Creative Commons

While the State of Oklahoma won the Supreme Court Water War with Texas, its in-state skirmish is still simmering.

This battle — between the state and the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations — is being waged within Oklahoma’s borders. But unlike the Red River water dispute, reports from the front lines of Oklahoma’s tribal water war are sketchy and scarce. The Associated Press’ Tim Talley explains news drought:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:47 am
Wed July 3, 2013

New Infrastructure Means Fresh Life For Broken Arrow’s Broken Water System

Construction underway on Broken Arrow's new water treatment plant in December 2012.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It seemed like a good idea back in 1979: Broken Arrow, population 35,000 at the time, would pipe its water in from the Grand River, 27 miles away, and save some money over buying water from Tulsa.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:51 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Shawnee Can’t Afford To Fluoridate, And Kids Are Getting Cavities

Credit Finzio / Flickr Creative Commons

The count of kids with cavities is on the rise in Pottawatomie County, where no fluoride is added to the public water systems.

And pediatric health groups and a local dental association are sounding alarms, the Shawnee News-Star’s Madi Alexander reports:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:49 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

A Flood Of Rain And Money Needed To Save Lake Waurika From Its Silt

Credit Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

Lake Waurika was built in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 to serve, primarily, as a source of drinking water for Lawton and surrounding communities. It has also become an important tourist attraction for the area.

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Water
7:53 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

Water Wars: Who Controls The Flow?

Cattle stand in a heavily irrigated pasture in Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin. The state has ordered ranchers in the region to shut down irrigation. The move is aimed at protecting the rights of Indian tribes who live downstream.
Amelia Templeton for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 6:39 pm

So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.

Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.

So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:48 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Leak in Aging Water Pipeline Forces Broken Arrow To Close Restaurants

Earthmovers carve out a new reservoir for Broken Arrow at the site of the city's out-of-date water treatment plant in November 2012.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Restaurants in Broken Arrow were ordered to close Wednesday because of a leak in a pipeline that brings water to the city from Pryor, about 30 miles away.

The news can’t come as a complete surprise to Broken Arrow officials, like Engineering Director Kenny Schwab.

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