Okmulgee says water problems will be fixed soon

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 1/24/2013 9:58 am Published: 1/23/2013 9:30 pm

Gross and stinky: that's how people in Okmulgee are describing the city's water supply.

Some even said it's making them sick.

FOX23 learned there’s plenty of history around town, and for thousands of folks, that's exactly what's wrong with Okmulgee.

"It sucks, like I say,” said Russell Smith.

FOX23 caught up with Smith as he paid his water bill. He's never happy about giving away cash, especially to the city, because his water is discolored, beige and sometimes brown.

Smith said a glass of water even comes with a stench.

"It’s always dirty, and tastes bad for sure,” said Smith.

"It is pitiful man,” said Brian Stallings.

Here’s why: water has been flowing through the same pipes since the early 1900’s. The buildup is lime and rust.

"The lime is just a chemical used to stabilize the pH, that's built up on the inside," said City Manager, Bob Baxter.

Baxter said it’s harmless; just gross to look at, and smell. He's been working to replace the city’s pipes for years. But in a city the size of Okmulgee, he said cash doesn't flow freely.

In the end, it leaves customers with a bad taste in their mouth.

Stallings told FOX23 the water made him sick.

"I’m talking bad stomach cramps. I’ve never felt that in my life," said Stallings.

These days, he sticks with bottled water.

"They have a right to be frustrated," said Baxter.

Baxter said the city is also replacing its water plant. Already, $10 million has been pumped into the project. But what started in September of 2011 is already several months overdue.

"The challenge: how do you keep making water while rebuilding a plant," said Baxter.

“They've been saying that for the longest,” said Stallings.

Even Baxter can't guarantee how much longer he'll continue saying it.

When all of the projects are completed, there will be a study to determine the problem areas around town.

The water treatment plant is expected to be completed sometime in March. FOX23 will be checking to see if the project is on track.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

cptspacecase - 1/24/2013 6:07 AM
0 Votes
bartlesville and pawhuska had the same problem....the real cause according to employees that couldnt say anything for fear of loosing thier jobs is that when they had to switch to the back-up pipes they didnt want to waste any water so they didnt flush them out first so all thet filth was immediatly sent thru every pipe they had and contaminated thier supply...took months to clean it out. sometimes it is better to waste a little than make people sick. where i work we bought filtered water for everything we could and stopped selling fountain drinks and bought bottles of soda instead.

sonya - 1/23/2013 11:28 PM
0 Votes
The city of Okmulgee charges outrageous prices for water that I don't feel is safe to drink and you only get 21 days to pay your bill. If your bill is not paid by the 10th you get charged 5%, if its not paid by the 15th you get charged 10%, if its not paid by the 20th you get charged $30 plus a $45 re-connect fee. Tell me this, if they don't have the money for the problem to be fixed, where is all the money going that they are collecting on these water bills, traffic tickets and taxes? IJS
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