Cherokee Nation leaders joined Sequoyah County Water Association representatives on March 26 to celebrate the completion of the Sequoyah County Water Treatment Plant, which will provide fresh, cleaner and safer drinking water to about 5,300 residents and businesses.
“This water treatment plant is the main point of access to water for thousands of families and businesses throughout Sequoyah County, and even some neighboring counties, so the Cherokee Nation is always proud to work with the water organizations like Sequoyah County Water Association, especially when our work helps bring clean and reliable water to those communities,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This is a great example of the strengths of a partnership between the Cherokee Nation and local organizations.”
The Cherokee Nation contributed $854,000 in Indian Health Service project funds to assist in the construction of approximately 54,000 feet of a new 24-inch water main from the water plant to the city of Vian.
“This project is going to make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of families, who will now not have to worry about safe drinking water,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “Partnerships like these with the Sequoyah County Water Association continue to show how we can greatly improve the crucial systems that carry water to our communities, and we do it by working together.”
Planning for the Sequoyah County Water Treatment Plant started in spring 2018.
“This just wouldn’t go without the Cherokee Nation,” said Sequoyah County Water Association manager Vance Mooney. “July will be 40 years that I have been with the water department and we have always worked with the Cherokee Nation on projects, so the Cherokee Nation has always been there for us and has been instrumental in our water projects. We just wouldn’t be where we are today without the Cherokee Nation.”
With construction now complete, the water treatment plant will serve communities across northern and western Sequoyah County, as well as parts of southern Cherokee County and southeast Muskogee County.
“The city of Vian receives their water through this water system, so in the past if there was a break in the main the city would have to shut down. Now, with the new water main Cherokee Nation helped fund we don’t have to do that. It’s a win-win for everybody - the city and the rural communities,” said District 5 Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith. “It’s just a great day to see this project completed and I am glad to be a part of it today.”
After the ribbon cutting, guests toured the new water treatment plant to see how the facility works. The water treatment plant has the capacity to pump about 5 million gallons per day, which is 3 million gallons more per day than was possible prior to the project.
“These pump systems have probably been here since about the 1960s, so they were dated and only had the capacity of pumping out 2 million gallons a day,” said District 6 Tribal Councilor Daryl Legg. “Now, they are up to 5 million per day, so this project is just good all-around for our Cherokee citizens and for the communities it provides water to.”
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