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City of Broken Arrow Provides Land for Groundwater Monitoring Program


The City of Broken Arrow has donated land to help keep tabs on groundwater quality in the state.

A new well at the Verdigris Water Treatment Plant will be added to the statewide Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program, a network of around 750 wells established in 2012. Oklahoma Water Resources Board Water Programs Division Manager Bill Cauthron said there’s a distinct advantage to working with local governments.

"We want to work with cities where we can maybe sign a long-term agreement to monitor that well because when you deal with the public or private landowner you know, they may sell their property and all of a sudden, this well that you’ve had in your network for 20 years is just gone," Cauthron said.

The well gives OWRB an additional monitoring point in the Arkansas River aquifer and is the first of five new ones planned for eastern Oklahoma funded by a donation from Associated Industries founder Robert Keyes. OWRB is looking for other local governments to help find sites for wells.

Assistant City Manager for Operations Kenny Schwab said having the well will help Broken Arrow, too.

"They’re going to share that data with us. So, any time we can get data that may help us make a decision on treatment operations, maybe operations that deliver water to the citizens, to our customers, absolutely we’re on board with that," Schwab said.

Groundwater is the primary water supply for 300 communities across the state, and it supplies about 90% of agricultural irrigation needs.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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