Inmates At Oklahoma County Jail Flood Building With Raw Sewage

Tuesday, December 11th 2018, 6:13 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Inmates at the Oklahoma County Jail have done it again, intentionally clogging up their toilets to flood the place with raw sewage. 

Video shows a river of raw sewage running through a basement hallway right by the kitchen.

"It was caused by debris that got into the main line, backed up and when it backs up, it comes down these pipes right here and overflows through this hole right here,” said Lt. Steven Wood, Director of Faculties Maintenance.

Wood is the guy who has the unenviable job of cleaning up the mess when inmates drop so-called, “Sock bombs”, down their toilet several times a week.

"They'll tie off strips of the bedsheets, tie it off, put it around debris whether it's a rag or it’s a sock, flush it down the toilet. They hold that line and it gets so far, and it just backs up the piping as everybody flushes. When they release it, sometimes it gets down farther and gets hung in the mains, hung in the bends and then it floods into the other areas of the jail,” said Wood.

The debris can also make it to a sewage grinder known as a “muffin monster”. It’s down in a seven-foot pit next to the jail.

"So, we have to get on waders, and we can be up to our chest in sewage trying to turn the valves underneath,” said Wood.

The problem is, obviously, the inmates intentionally stopping up the plumbing. But it’s also the poorly designed plumbing that allows them to do it. There are no traps like you would find in your house. Just straight pipes from the top floor to the basement. 

"Most water usage should be on the same level and flow down into it, gravity fed. But here at this facility, most of the water was down downstairs. Laundry, kitchen, which is the biggest water users. We pump it upstairs to the main level of the ground,” said Wood.

County commissioners went on a tour of the jail, but didn’t have time to talk with News 9.

The jail is working with them, "To try to figure out what are the best options,” said Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Mark Opgrande. “There's a lot of people that are working on it. They've been working on it for years to try to decide, ‘Do you need a new building? Do you need to retrofit it? Do you need new piping systems?’ It all depends on where the money comes from, because that's the big issue. Where does the money come from?"

Until there’s a solution, Lieutenant Wood and his staff will continue cleaning up messes that would gag most of us.

"Someone's gotta [sic] do it.  What my guys go through every day is kind of tough,” said Wood. “But they grit teeth and go at it.”