Lithium Found at Oklahoma Plant

Feb. 28, 2019

Test results show groundwater in Oklahoma near a power plant have tested high for the chemical lithium

In Oologah, Okla., test results show groundwater near the town’s power plant tested high for the chemical lithium. The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) are not concerned but they are planning more testing to see if a plan needs to be put in place to treat the groundwater, according to News On 6.

Lithium is just one of the 21 different chemicals PSO tests for near the power plant.

“Out of all the things we tested for, this is the one chemical at that one location that came up as being elevated from groundwater protection standards,” said Stan Whiteford, PSO Spokesperson, to News On 6.

Whiteford also said the groundwater in question is stemming from the "bottom ash pond,” which collects what is left over after coal is burned at the plant. However, Whiteford said there is no immediate reason for concern.

"There's no indication the groundwater near the bottom ash pond moves off-site,” he said to News On 6.

He also said that Oologah residents get their drinking water from the lake, not the well water.

"We have absolutely no reason to believe any drinking water was affected in that area at all,” Whiteford said.

According to News On 6, the plant itself looks to stand alone, however, Whiteford said they will still contact anybody with a water well within a mile radius of the plant.

"For peace of mind, for someone within a mile radius of the plant, and they do have a well for some reason...we'll still go out and test that for them,” Whiteford said to News On 6.

County commissioner Steve Hendrix said PSO put his fears at ease, and he trusts how they're handling the matter, according to News On 6.

PSO said the last coal unit will shut down in 2026. According to News On 6, this means they will stop putting any material in the bottom ash pond, and the site will close.