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November 3, 2009

McAlester not affected by Narconon boil order

A boil advisory issued for Narconon-Arrowhead remained in effect this morning, but it is has nothing to do with the city of McAlester.

The state Department of Environmental Quality advised Narconon-Arrowhead on Friday that its water was unsafe for human consumption due to the presence of E. coli and should be boiled for one minute before using.

No other sites were named by the DEQ as being involved in the boil order.

However, city of McAlester Utilities Director David Medley said his office had been bombarded with telephone calls on Monday in the wake of Tulsa television station newscasts which mentioned the boil order issued to Narconon-Arrowhead.

“They said it was near McAlester,” Medley said.

Other viewers reported seeing strips running along the bottom of newscasts saying the boil order was for Pittsburg County. One Web story used a McAlester dateline, but did not relate that Narconon-Arrowhead is approximately 17 miles north of McAlester.

Medley said he wanted to assure McAlester residents that the boil order issued by the DEQ for Narconon-Arrowhead does not involve McAlester water, or any water that is treated in McAlester.

“We don’t even serve those people,” Medley said. “They don’t use our system.”

The DEQ also confirmed again on Monday afternoon that no cities or water districts near Narconon-Arrowhead were involved in the boil order for the facility.

Narconon-Arrowhead is residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility at the site of the former Arrowhead State Lodge, near Canadian.

It gets its water from the Pittsburg-Crowder Rural Water District Water No. 1, according to DEQ spokesperson Skylar McElhaney.

However, samples from the rural water district were OK, according to McElhaney. Also, no problems were found in water samples from Canadian, the closest town to Narconon-Arrowhead, McElhaney said.

The DEQ issued the boil advisory for Narconon-Arrowhead after water samples taken at the site indicated the presence of E. coli, according to DEQ

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