Bringing the community together to learn more about better protecting Pauls Valley's drinking water is the idea behind an upcoming gathering here.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is teaming up with the city of Pauls Valley to plan for what's called a Watershed Protection Fair coming early next month.

The fair scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 7 is designed to bring a variety of agencies together with the community for an event with information at the center.

With the local Reynolds Recreation Center as the setting, the fair will offer more on ways to make an already solid water plan in PV even better in the future.

“It's about the community working together to develop ways to better protect their drinking water and their lakes,” said Emily Hoskin of the state's DEQ.

“This is about improving and protecting our drinking water. There are little things you can do as an individual.”

Hoskin says it's really a new idea to organize a water related fair, which is meant to bring awareness to more people about the need to use good practices to help protect a community's all important water sources.

Joining Hoskin in the planning is Stephanie Credille, one of four operators at Pauls Valley's water treatment plant.

Leading up to the fair Credille says surveys have been sent out in advance to get more information about some of the practices used by landowners in the area.

“We're hoping to get information on the use of pesticides, herbicides, things like that. What's being treated and how often are people using pesticides,” Credille said.

One specific focus is the recent concerns of the possible health risks related to a popular weed and grass killer.

Credille says there are three main ingredients to the commonly used herbicide.

“We want to put people at ease. We are testing for those ingredients and have been for some time. The DEQ started up a whole round of new tests,” she said.

“Part of that protection is we want all landowners to be honest and tell us what they're using. We're going to continue to monitor those three ingredients. It's a red flag probably forever.

“We're here to answer all their questions and concerns about our drinking water and put them at ease.”

For Credille personally she hopes an event like the upcoming fair can begin a public conversation about the proper disposal of all potentially toxic materials, including things like motor oil and many commonly used products containing a variety of chemicals.

“We need to find ways to dispose of your chemicals,” Credille says.

“A lot of people don't know that to do with these products they're using and they just go find a spot and dump it. They might drop it in the sewer, and we don't really want that because it gets into our drinking water. If you're putting it in the creek you're putting it in the drinking water.

“We don't want people dumping out mystery materials.

“We want to raise awareness for the sake of our future. We need to find the right way to dump these things.”

This Week's Circulars