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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On July 10, the City of Tahlequah received test results from water sampling of Town Branch Creek head water near the United Methodist Children’s Home and Sequoyah Park. All testing results were lower in colony forming units of the E. coli bacteria than earlier this month.
Water samples at Sequoyah Park tested at 110.6 and 86.2 cfu. Samples taken from the spring located on the UMCH property indicated 122.3 and 93.2 cfu and the head water near the UMCH property tested at 488.4 and 325.5 cfu.
“The head waters include the spring as it comes out of the ground on the UMCH property where it forms a pond. That pond then releases water that forms Town Branch Creek and that water flows under Jones Road located near the entrance of the Methodist Home,” said Stormwater Manager Jahna Hill.
Upon the new results and the continued E. coli bacteria sampling efforts of Town Branch Creek, the City identified a source of contamination located near the head waters on the United Methodist Children’s Home.
“Based on our previous results near the head waters we approached the Methodist Home for permission to sample on their private property located near our regular sampling location. After results on their property indicated exceedances of E. coli bacteria, we requested the help of Tahlequah Public Works Authority to identify the source,” said Clinton Johnson, director of planning and development.
TPWA utilized its sewer camera system and identified multiple breaks in the home’s sewer lines near the spring and pond on the property, which feeds into Town Branch Creek.
Johnson said the home’s administration was made aware of the issues immediately and contacted plumbers to make the necessary repairs which were complete on July 6.
“With the replacement of the children’s home sewer pipe, we anticipate E. coli levels to continue to decrease,” Hill added.
Johnson said the City will continue to conduct weekly tests of creek waters until it reaches a state recommended result for recreational activity.
“Until sampling after a rain event indicates levels are within limits the City continues to advise against recreational activities in Town Branch Creek until all testing results are below the state’s recommended 126 cfu for recreational activities,” Johnson added.
Advisory signage is posted at the typical recreational locations along the creek. Please contact email@example.com or call 918-931-1803 with questions or concerns.