OKC water service restored after frozen pipes wreak havoc
Oklahoma City restored service at its Lake Stanley Draper water treatment plant late Sunday after freezing temperatures affected underground lines and shut off water to many south Oklahoma residents.
Around 9 p.m., the city said water pressure was being restored for many customers who had little or no running water.
The frigid temperatures also caused water mains to fail across parts of Oklahoma City.
The failures, which affected localized areas across the city and a much broader swath of the community south of the Oklahoma River, pretty much had all of the city’s water and wastewater utility crews out working, a spokesperson said.
“We are getting calls from people with water pressure issues from across the community,” Jennifer McClintock, spokesperson for the utility said on Sunday.
McClintock said the city expects pressure issues to continue for area residents throughout the day.
“Unfortunately, that’s a hazard of working a water system when you have unprecedented temperatures of this kind,” said McClintock, noting that this stretch of extremely cold weather is having more of an impact on the city’s water treatment and delivery system than normal.
She attributed the treatment plant issue to frozen underground lines that carry chemicals used to improve the water’s quality into the plant.
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The mains, where they have failed, pretty much have created instant skating rinks that are hazardous to passing motorists and to the crews out working to repair the damages.
“I think we pretty much have got all hands on deck,” she said. “We have as many crews as we have available that are out working on things right now. And they are out there in ditches where they are in frozen water they have to hammer through, just to get to those lines."
The city’s water system operates much like an underground balloon, with the city operating treatment plants that put water into a huge network of main, branch and service lines that then is pulled out by users.
The goal is to keep pressure levels within the system consistent, so that residents are able to get water whenever they turn on a tap.
When water mains begin bursting, however, it makes it hard to keep that pressure constant until the broken pipes can be isolated, bypassed and ultimately repaired.
The city was urging its residents Sunday to conserve their water usage if they still had service.