OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality served an emergency order to the Bethany-Warr Acres wastewater treatment plant Friday, demanding it stops spewing untreated wastewater into Bluff Creek immediately.
According to DEQ, it was made aware of raw, untreated sewage bypassing the treatment plant off 192nd and Highway 74, and flowing straight into the creek.
“In this case, it was an equipment failure,” said Shellie Chard/DEQ water quality division director. “We received a complaint from a private citizen on November, 30 and we sent staff out immediately.”
Investigators will try to determine how long the problem has been ongoing.
The failed equipment, which would treat raw sewage coming from homes and businesses in Bethany and Warr Acres, allowed that waste to leak straight from the plant and into the Bluff Creek. The creek ultimately will flow into Liberty Lake, which is a backup water supply for northern Oklahoma County.
“That has not been in use for many months,” said Chard.
For the time being, the wastewater from the plant will now go through temporary pipelines to a plant in Oklahoma City to be treated.
DEQ also told News 4 the same plant has had similar issues in the past but “not of this magnitude.”
KFOR reached out to both the town of Bethany and Warr Acres, as well as the treatment plant. Our calls went to voicemail and the plant manager did not return those calls before airtime.
When asked if there could be criminal charges, Chard said they would investigate and determine if legal action was necessary.
Until then, Chard recommended that anyone in the area near Bluff Creek avoid walking or playing in the creek.