DEQ issued a consumption advisory in 1998 for catfish from Bitter Creek in Jackson County. The advisory is due to elevated levels of the pesticides DDT and toxaphene in the fish. While DDT and toxaphene have not been in use since the early 1980s, residual levels of these pesticides remain in the sediments and fish of streams draining the Altus-Lugert Irrigation District in southwest Oklahoma. DEQ began sampling these streams in 1995 after a report by the US Fish and Wildlife Service found elevated levels of pesticides in water-dwelling insects and larger invertebrate species such as crayfish. In 1998, DEQ issued a fish consumption advisory for Bitter Creek after sampling indicated the levels of pesticides were high enough to present an elevated risk of cancer to people who regularly eat these fish over a long period of time. Continued monitoring shows that the pesticide levels remain high enough for the advisory to remain in effect. The DEQ encourages people consuming fish from Bitter Creek to limit their consumption of catfish to the following:

Women Over 50 Years Old and Men Over 18 Years Old

2 meals* per month

Women Under 50 Years Old and Children Under 17 Years Old

Do not eat


The DEQ will continue to monitor fish from streams in the area of the Altus- Lugert Irrigation District and will update advisories as needed.