Save the Illinois River, Inc.
24369 E 757 Rd.
Tahlequah, OK 74464-1949
(918) 284-9440

Phosphorus Report September 24, 2020 to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission

Save the Illinois River, Inc. | News | September 24, 2020

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So-called horse snot algae in a tributary of the Illinois River-Ed Brocksmith photo


Phosphorus loading to the Illinois River watershed is dramatically greater both at the state border at Watts, Oklahoma and downstream at Tahlequah according to the latest data presented September 24, 2020 to Oklahoma and Arkansas water quality regulators. Thousands of kilograms of polluting phosphorus enter Lake Tenkiller every year, degrading water quality and advancing the death of one of our state's most beautiful lakes. Arkansas fails to meet Oklahoma's phosphorus limit for Oklahoma Scenic Rivers adopted in 2002 (0.037 mg/L Total Phosphorus), exceeding the limit by over 54-percent. Nor is our phosphorus limit being met in Oklahoma according to the latest data presented at the meeting of Oklahoma and Arkansas water quality regulators.  The average phosphorus at Tahlequah was 0.059 mg/L, 26-percent greater than the scenic rivers phosphorus limit. Phosphorus loading increased by more than 63-percent from the previous five-year rolling average (2014-2018)

A committee of Oklahoma and Arkansas water quality regulators will meet virtually November 9 to continue discussions on how Arkansas will meet Oklahoma's water quality standards for the Illinois River and when it will meet those standards.

See data for Illinois River, Flint Creek and Barren Fork Creek.

See Oklahoma's entire report.