The City of Salina and OOWA respond to accusations of unsafe drinking water

Posted at 4:49 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 14:48:47-04

SALINA, Okla. - Resident Keith Hardesty say his drinking water is unsafe to the point he'd rather drill his own well than drink it. 

“It just smelled. You couldn’t boil tea with what it smelled like - chlorine,"

Hardesty says he cut off the city's water supply and now buys it by the barrel. He's even suspicious the water may've caused some of his health problems.

 “I mean, it’s good one day and bad the next," he said. 

The latest report on the quality of the city's water is from 2015. It says in November of that year the water did suffer a violation for its chlorite content. 

But the City of Salina said it doesn't have a water quality problem anymore but in fact, the opposite. 

“If we were having a quality issue here, they (DEQ) would be the first to come knocking on our door," said Salina Mayor Michael O'Rourke. 

A few years back it was struggling to meet minimum standards set by the Department of Environmental Quality, so it sought another plan. 

That plan was buying its water supply from the Oklahoma Ordnance Works, who also supplies water to neighboring towns. 

A representative of the company says the chlorine taste of the water shouldn't be alarming, but also refused to show 2 Works for You its plant. 

“Chlorine is the basic disinfection component that we use, and so for a customer to taste chlorine is not unusual at all," said OOWA General Manager Larry Williams. "Tasting chlorine within itself doesn’t make the water unsafe, in fact it’s probably a clear indicator that the water is safe.” 

He said water from different companies will taste different just like brands of bottled water. 

He also said the company hasn't received any formal complaints about its water. 

2 Works for You spent the day in Salina and asked other residents and businesses about their experiences. No one else cited having issues with unhealthy water, but only the cost of the new system. 

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