Luther’s water quality is safe, according to Mayor Lea Ann Jackson. However, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has some recommendations on how the town can keep better track of its water. Because water is money.
DEQ Capacity Development Coordinator Brandon Bowman presented “Luther’s Water Loss Audit” to the Luther Public Works Authority meeting at the May 13 meeting. Conducted in July of 2015, the town scored a paltry 27 out of 100 points on issues such as:
- production meter data incomplete
- large majority of customer meters are old
- overhead fill station without meter in use – on honor system
- no record of flow used for flushing, fire suppression
- no budget specifically for the water system – operational costs are estimated.
Bowman noted that the low audit score should be taken with a grain of salt because of the missing data issues. He said with new town staff in place, a repeat audit might reveal different results. And he said, it is free for the town, so the LPWA Trustees (the same as the Luther Town Board) approved a repeat audit.
More than 40 other Oklahoma towns and water districts take part in the DEQ Water Loss Audit including Beaver, Mooreland, Fletcher, Lone Grove, Eufala, Antlers and others.
The Drinking Water Watch database shows that Luther has six wells, three are active and the town does not buy water from any source or water system, said Bowman. “The town is currently in compliance with the primary drinking water standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”
The DWW database is available to the public here: http://sdwis.deq.state.ok.us/DWW/
In all, Bowman said the audit revealed that inaccurate meters, water theft, leaks in the system and other issues could cost Luther up to $98,000 in real losses.