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Claremore city councilors approved a $416,000 water study during the regular meeting Monday night.

“This is the first step in now looking at the treatment process and looking at that quality process,” Public Works Administrator Jonah Humes said at the meeting.

Humes said this study will produce a document that will help the city make an informed decision on what the best process is and what the overall cost would be.

“At the end, we’ll have a fixed cost, exactly what it will cost, and the best option for the city moving forward in treating whether it's the manganese problems or the disinfectant byproduct problems we’ve been seeing repeatedly because of the type of water we have in Claremore Lake and the current ability we have to treat that,” he said.

The water evaluation test would be a 4-8 month process.

Claremore City Manager John Feary said this test would be paid for using ARPA funds.

Feary said the city will be seeing the first distribution of ARPA funding from the federal government.

“The spending for those funds are very direct,” he said. “One of those is for water, sanitary, sewer and broadband infrastructure so this is funded through those federal dollar for infrastructure for improving our water treatment process.”

Feary said the city will receive about $3 million for infrastructure projects.

“This entire thing is to build out for decades to come,” he said.

Humes gave some background and said in 2009 the previous council looked at the capacity that the water plant could handle.

“We decided at that time that we needed to work at increasing that capacity,” he said. “It was also considered earlier to look at the quality and how to treat the water in a more effective way as we’ve had consistent water quality issues over the past few decades.”

The capacity to produce water per day was doubled in 2018.

Mayor Bill Flanagan said the city went from four million gallons of water a day to eight million gallons a day.

“Currently, we don’t have the water for eight million gallons a day,” he said in the meeting.

Flanagan said throughout this process they will take the knowledge and apply it to the 4 million gallons of water the city will need sometime in the future.

“If we design the plant to treat this type of water, and then we acquire four million gallons of a different type of water, it may not work,” he said. “This has to be coordinated. One is quantity and one is quality.”

Humes said they’ve seen spikes in manganese in certain times of the year, however the last couple months they've seen a steady high level of manganese.

“This is very unusual,” he said. “In fact, historical. We haven’t seen this before. This process will give us a solution so when we see those spikes, it doesn’t disrupt any of the other chemical process. We’ll be able to treat it at those high levels and maintain when it’s low as well.”

Councilors Debbie Long and Lindsey Erwin raised concerns about the study and the full scope of what it would include.

“Our water quality is an issue,” Long said. “I don’t want this to be a bandaid.”

Humes said the scope is quite extensive.

“We’re not just trying to treat manganese, we’re trying to fix the continuing issue,” he said.

Feary said the process will look into copper and lead regulations as they get more stringent and will help the city plan and build for those changes in regulations.

“We are not going to spend this kind of money into invest in our future and not be able to address the heavier restrictions,” he said. “They're coming. There's no potential of EPA and DEQ restrictions getting more stringent. It’s going to happen. We know that. We’d like to get out ahead of that.”

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