Last month, Lone Grove residents experienced brown, smelly water. While it has since cleared up, issues with city water are nothing new for the community.
City Manager Ian O’Neal said, “We’ve got two small water towers and the towers can only hold so much water. I don’t know what happened that day, but the supply in the towers just dropped. At around 11 o’clock at night I got a phone call from code enforcement and he told me that the towers were really low.”
In fact they were both less than 25 percent full. Similar shortages in the past have been caused by a leak, but there was no leak behind this event.
Because the towers were both low and not filling up despite all city wells running at full capacity, the situation became critical.
“If there were a fire we wouldn’t have the water to fight it,” O’Neal said. “We’re not just talking about drinking water any more, this is now an emergency situation.”
To prevent disaster, they decided to turn on the Ardmore booster, which is a 12-inch line that runs from a tower on Kings Road all the way into the city. This backup system had not been used in over a year and a half.
“Well, that water sits in there stagnant for a long time. So we run up there and turn on the hydrants so we can blow that water off, but you’re not going to get it all,” O’Neal said. “That water comes out red. It looks like the Washita River.”
To try to prevent similar shortages in the future and to lift the moratorium currently in place on all residential building, the city recently had a study done to discover their best option.
“Basically, they said we need a new water tower for storage.” O’Neal said.
The study also recommended two to three new water wells to fill the new tower.
“All in all, it’s going to cost $2.5 million.” O’Neal said. “We’re just working on coming up with how to find the money to pay for that.”
In the mean time, the city is making progress towards increasing their water supply.
“We just got an older well that’s been down for about 2 years refurbished. It’s out on Newport Road and the guy told me it produces about 110 gallons per minute, so that should really help us out.”
While the well is not currently online, the city has already submitted samples to the Department of Environmental Quality. The city is ready to get that well online and producing water as soon as they are given the go ahead from DEQ.