MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 29, 2013

Worms infest Colcord's water supply


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Beating the late-summer heat isn’t as easy as running to the sink in one northeastern Oklahoma town, as its residents are being asked not to drink tap water after red worms were found in the filtering system.

The worms — ranging from a half-inch to an inch long — showed up earlier this week in the drinking water supply in Colcord, about 80 miles east of Tulsa.

City councilman Terry Wood said city water was turned back on Wednesday morning after workers cleaned, drained and re-cleaned the water tower. No worms were found in the tower, he said.

“We are still looking into this problem. I mean we need to get to the bottom of it and we will continue to investigate and do pretty much what we need to do to find out what happened here,” Wood said.

Residents are being asked not to consume the water or use it to brush teeth or prepare food, Wood said, but it can be used for showers and other activities.

Erin Hatfield, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, said it’s uncommon for red worms to show up in a water system in the state, though it’s fairly common in the southeastern United States.

She’s not sure why or how the worms wriggle into water systems.

There are no adverse health effects with the red worms, she said, and the DEQ provided Colcord officials with recommendations for their water system to prevent future red worm infestations.