UPDATE: 4:05 p.m.: Crews repair more water line breaks

James Beaty, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
·5 min read

Feb. 22—Five major water line breaks in the McAlester water system were repaired Monday, with work underway on more as the day progressed.

"They're working on six more this afternoon," City Manager Pete Stasiak said Monday.

Those are the major water line breaks, not counting the numerous small breaks in water lines around the city.

More crews have been added to repair water line breaks in McAlester as workers try to keep pace with more leaks springing up around the city as water lines continue to thaw.

The city's water towers were still struggling to be filled as of Monday afternoon.

"It was a tough day yesterday," Stasiak said Monday. Those who had water service Sunday were getting ready to go back to work, washing clothes and dishes, he said.

"The breaks are happening faster than we can address them," Assistant City Manager Toni Ervin said early Monday. "We are having continual reports of leaks and breaks and we have other departments out looking for them."

The city is using four contractors hired to help repair the water line breaks and they are bringing on more help.

"They're adding additional crews," Ervin said.

City officials are renewing their pleas for water users to conserve water, to help the city's water towers to refill. Not only are parts of McAlester still without water service, but the city also provides water to five rural water districts,.

A total of approximately 44 leaks that have been detected over the past few days were repaired as of early Monday, Ervin said.

"We are isolating them as we find them, so it slows the water loss," said Ervin.

"We're doing as much as we can and we're addressing it as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can," Ervin said.

With all the waterline breaks, the city is having a difficult time getting the water towers filled to the needed levels.

"We're pumping around 4,000 gallons a minute," Ervin said. The city will be able to pump more when the clearwell at the city's water treatment plant is filled, she said. The clearwell is a water holding tank at the city's water treatment plant that's designed to hold one million gallons of treated water that is then piped to the city and its water customers.

"The clearwell is at six feet," Ervin said early Monday. "When it gets to 10 feet, we can start pumping more to town."

By Monday afternoon, the clearwell level had risen to seven feet.

Also, the city's voluntary precautionary boil order remains in place for McAlester and Rural Water Districts No. 5,6,7,9 and 16, said city of McAlester Public Information Officer/Grant Writer Stephanie Giacomo.

Consumers may boil water for at least one minute before drinking and other uses that may lead to consumption, Giacomo said.

Also, Republic is resuming regular trash service Monday, said Giacomo.

In neighborhoods where repairs are ongoing, there could be temporary disruptions in water service.

When the lines are isolated for repairs, it's possible some sites that did have water service will lose it until the broken water pipes are repaired and the lines are opened again. That's what occurred over the weekend when crews repaired a break in the Green Meadows area, Ervin said.

"People were out last night," Ervin said. "That has been fixed."

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.

More crews have been added to repair water line breaks in McAlester as workers try to keep pace with more leaks springing up around the city.

More and more leaks are being found as water lines continue to thaw.

"The breaks are happening faster than we can address them," Assistant McAlester City Manager Toni Ervin said Monday. "We are having continual reports of leaks and breaks and we have other departments out looking for them."

The city is using four contractors hired to help repair the water line breaks and they are bringing on more help.

"They're adding additional crews," Ervin said.

City officials are renewing their pleas for water users to conserve water, to help the city's water towers to refill. Not only are parts of McAlester still without water service, but the city also provides water to five rural water districts,.

Approximately 44 leaks that have been detected were repaired as of early Monday, Ervin said.

"We are isolating them as we find them, so it slows the water loss," said Ervin.

"We're doing as much as we can and we're addressing it as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can," Ervin said.

With all the waterline breaks, the water towers in the city are not refilling to the needed levels.

"We're pumping around 4,000 gallons a minute," Ervin said. The city will be able to pump more when the clearwell at the city's water treatment plant is filled, she said.

"The clearwell is at six feet," Ervin said. "When it gets to 10 feet, we can start pumping more to town."

In neighborhoods where repairs are ongoing, there could be temporary disruptions in water service.

When the lines are isolated for repairs, it's possible some sites that did have water service will lose it until the broken water pipes are repaired and the lines are opened again. That's what occurred over the weekend when crews repaired a leak in the Green Meadows area, Ervin said.

"People were out last night," Ervin said. "That has been fixed."

Also, Republic is resuming regular trash service Monday, said city of McAlester Public Information Officer/Grant Writer Stephanie Giacomo.

Contact James beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.