|Updated: 1/24 9:58 am
||Published: 1/23 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.