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24369 E 757 Rd.
Tahlequah, OK 74464-1949
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[Archived] Water quality study under way in Illinois River watershed

| Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission | April 21, 2017


The Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Geological Survey have joined hands in a $126,600 project to analyze the quality of the Illinois River...(LIN)
Author :  Mike W. Ray  
Date :  06/10/2005


Water quality study under way in Illinois River watershed 
By Mike W. Ray


Staff Writer


(LIN) Water quality sampling is being performed in the Illinois River watershed in behalf of the state Attorney General.



The Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Geological Survey have joined hands in a $126,600 project to analyze the quality of the Illinois River. The Attorney General's Office is paying $96,600 of the project cost and the U.S. Geological Survey is contributing $30,000 in federal matching funds, ledgers reflect.


The OWRB routinely cooperates with the USGS "in a program of collection of data concerning the water resources" of this state. The Illinois River sampling was launched because the Oklahoma Attorney General "has an important interest regarding the monitoring and determination of water quality in Scenic River areas of the state, which the OWRB is in a position to coordinate with and add to the cooperative program with the USGS," a memorandum agreement relates.


State Attorney General Drew Edmondson and poultry company representatives recently huddled in Tulsa with mediator Tom Brett, a retired federal district judge, to negotiate a settlement over disposal of chicken litter.


Phosphorus, which stimulates algae growth and also affects the odor and taste of water, is blamed for degradation of the Illinois River, one of six scenic rivers in Oklahoma. Storm water runoff saturated with dissolved phosphorus from litter generated on chicken and turkey farms in Oklahoma and Arkansas is the suspected source of much of the nutrient.


The Water Board is coordinating Geological Survey sampling of four "high flow" events and two "base flow" events at half a dozen locations in the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma. The sampling stations are on the Illinois River at Tahlequah, near Watts and near Chewey, on Caney Creek near Barber, the Barren Fork at Eldon, and Flint Creek near Kansas, Okla.


Characteristics that are being measured in each sample include water temperature, the pH (alkalinity/acidity), dissolved solids, suspended solids, total organic carbon, electrical conductivity, turbidity, phosphorus content, total nitrogen, ammonia, metals, sulfate, chloride content, estrogen metabolites, and bacteria such as fecal coliform, e-coli, staphylococcus and salmonella.


Two sampling events have already been performed and four more are scheduled, the Water Board was informed recently. The sampling started in April and will conclude this month, and a final data report is to be issued in July, the memorandum agreement to be considered Tuesday indicates.