© 2021 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

South-Central Oklahoma city of Maysville advises residents to boil brown tap water

 A wide cistern of water with a metal arm that spans it. The metal arm has a hub in the middle that a walkway leads out to.
City of Portland
A clarifier removes solids during water treatment. The clarifier at Maysville (not the one pictured) is having problems.

Maysville provides drinking water for just over 1,200 people in Garvin and McClain counties. The city has issued a precautionary boil advisory while it addresses murky brown water coming out of customers’ taps.

That boil advisory came on Monday, when the city announced mechanical issues at its treatment plant. According to the advisory, residents should bring tap water to a full boil for at least a minute before drinking it, cooking, brushing teeth or caring for wounds.

“I do not have a length of time yet,” wrote a spokesperson via the Maysville Town Hall Facebook page. “I know this has been rough on everyone but I can assure you we are working to get this fixed.”

The advisory comes from the city itself rather than the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, according to Erin Hatfield with the DEQ. However, she confirmed the problem is with the clarifier at the Maysville treatment plant.

Clarifiers are huge tanks that remove solid impurities from water by letting sludge settle to the bottom and scum float to the top. The clarifier then uses a mechanical arm to scrape those solids from the surface or bottom of the tank.

The Maysville Board of Trustees approved a plan to refurbish its treatment plant late last year, according to the Garvin County News Star. At that time, the system didn’t have a permanent water treatment plant operator and was contracting with a consultant to run the facility until a permanent operator could be trained.

The city also applied for funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to improve the water plant and seek additional sources of water. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board recommended the town receive $1 million in ARPA funds earlier this year.

Maysville had 13 drinking water violations last year, most of them for problems with their disinfection process. The chemicals needed to make water safe to drink can leave leftover byproducts. If too many of these byproducts remain in the water, they could lead to increased cancer risks and other health issues over time.

Every time Maysville tested for those byproducts in 2022, they were above the EPA’s limit, at times over twice the regulatory maximum. The city has been having those same problems for more than a decade, according to the state Drinking Water Watch database.

Hatfield said the system has decided to keep the boil advisory in place until it’s addressed the cloudy water.


Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content