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City of Okemah says water safe to drink, but homeowners are frustrated with discoloration

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 23:09:47-04

OKEMAH, Okla. -- The city of Okemah has spent the last three days flushing lines to clear the area of brown water.

Homeowners tell 2 Works for You they were frustrated to not hear from the city when this first started over the weekend.

"It was just one of those things where it just didn't happen. If it happened in the middle of the week there probably could have been notification. But when he caught it he did what he had to do and in 24 hours we had the water clear," city manager Bert Robison said.

Robison said DEQ tested the system on Monday and found it is safe to drink. Higher levels of manganese and iron caused discoloration.

But Bruce Dunson said this isn't the first time he's seen this. In the spring Dunson dealt with brown water for more than three weeks.

"I use it to cook with but really don't drink it that much and use it in the laundry but the whites are getting kind of dingy looking," he said.

Multiple neighbors said in just the last six months the lines have been flushed about four different times, causing homeowners to worry about water quality.

"It's brown, it's always brown and it's gross. Sometimes it stinks. Sometimes it doesn't smell so bad but it tastes kind of horrible," Amber Woods said.

Woods has lived in Okemah all her life. She mostly relies on water bottles now and said the local stores run out almost weekly.

"This is, I think, the worst I've ever seen it. It happens all year long, not just when it's hot. The water is just gross here," Woods said.

The city posted on Facebook Monday, facing dozens of calls throughout the day. As they learn of more problem zones for brown water, staff will continue flushing until the problem is solved. That's estimated to be done by the end of Tuesday.


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