KONAWA — All 1,300 residents are without running water after a problem with Konawa's crumbling water system stopped it from flowing early Monday.
Water may be restored Tuesday or in a couple of days, depending on what has caused the problem, City Manager Rita LoPresto said.
Reports of no running water began about 6:30 a.m. Monday, she said.
Konawa is about 70 miles southeast of Oklahoma City in Seminole County.
LoPresto said the problem is in a well field five miles south of the city. It was not clear Monday whether a valve is broken, there is a backflow issue or there is a leak in a 2,000-foot transmission line between wells.
The transmission line in question is due a $100,000 overhaul to be paid for with an Oklahoma Water Resources Board grant. Bids have gone out, and work is expected to start in January, LoPresto said.
If the problem is with the line, workers will have to dig up the pipe and look for a leak. If that's the case, residents could be without water for days, LoPresto said.
The aging water system has been patched with a combination of borrowed money and federal and state grants over the past several years. The money has paid for miles of new pipe, generators, new wells and other infrastructure.
“The bottom line is: It's old lines,” LoPresto said. “The infrastructure in the town is very old.”
Some federal grants never materialized after Congress failed to appropriate promised funds, she said.
Walmart and Pepsi have provided free bottled water, which residents can pick up at City Hall, LoPresto said.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation brought a tank of water to the city Monday, Seminole County emergency manager Von Wilcots said. The tribe's headquarters is in Shawnee, about 35 miles north of Konawa.
More tanks are expected from the Oklahoma National Guard, Wilcots said.
Police in Konawa have gone door to door, handing out bottled water to the elderly, he said.
The city's school system is not been impacted because it maintains its own wells. The fire department has been cleared to fill its tanks from a Seminole County Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. facility if needed, officials said.