OKLAHOMA COUNTY - A big repair job at the Oklahoma County Jail forced officials to shut the water off completely early Monday morning. Thousands of inmates and employees were without running water for most of the day.

Jail officials said the main water line was turned off around 1 a.m., and repairs were expected to be completed Tuesday evening.

“The planning for this started a couple of weeks ago,” said Mark Opgrande, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

That is when jail officials realized the job to replace eight valves that control the building's water could not be done without shutting the water off completely.

Inmates are unable to take showers and have to place plastic bags in toilets for waste.

“I was in there,” said Mamie Milligan, concerned parent of inmate. “Said a prayer for all the inmates and people that are in there.”

Milligan came by the jail to pick up her daughter's personal items and to make sure her health needs are not being impacted.

“I’m just really concerned about her medication,” said Milligan. “That’s my main concern, her medication.”  

To make up for the lack of H2O, 11,000 water bottles were brought in for employees and approximately 1,300 inmates.

“The inmates are getting a bottle of water with each meal,” said Opgrande.

Portable bathrooms were set up outside for visitors and in the back of the building for jail staff.

Jail officials said the repairs to the water valves are necessary to make way for future repairs inside the pods.

“We’ll be able to shut off certain sides of the water and then we can go and fix showers,” said Opgrande. “We can new handles on the showers. Now you have some area where showers just continually run.”

The goal is to have the water running at full capacity by early Tuesday morning, but if it is not running, jail officials said the portable bathrooms will stay in place. 

“We have a system set up where we can take inmates to the porta potties as well,” said Opgrande.  

The fire suppression system is on another line and water to that system was not turned off.