Numerous Leaks Delaying El Reno Water Restoration, Mayor Says Progress Is Being Made

Monday, February 22nd 2021, 10:26 pm

EL RENO, Okla. -

It has been as long as seven days since many residents in El Reno have had water running through bathtubs and sinks.

According to mayor Matt White, a rolling blackout Tuesday morning without notice from Oklahoma Gas & Electric caused a near citywide water outage.

White said generators and pumps were turned on but could not keep up. The outage Tuesday morning happened during a peak water usage time. Crews have been playing catch up ever since.

City crews continued their work from the weekend, releasing air from water pipes. They said it is a tedious but necessary process in restoring service.

Storage bins now serve as water reservoirs at Darla Andrade’s home. The kids, along with mom and dad, were trying to find a way to bathe.

“I’m frustrated. It’s a lot to take in,” Andrade said. “We were able to bathe in the bathtub with what water we were able to collect. It didn’t get us super clean, not like having an actual good shower, but enough to make us feel better.”

Making formula for eight-month-old Oliver has been nothing sort of a challenge for Jena Anson.

“It’s like every two to three hours, and sometimes and then, we will get four hours,” Anson said. “That’s a lot of water when you really realize it. It was really a heavy worry.”

Andrade joins many other El Reno residents who are surprised that a one-hour power outage at the city’s water plant could lead to a seven-day service outage.

As water is distributed daily to residents at Legion Park, city officials urge everyone to conserve as much water as possible to help build up pressure in the system.

White said numerous leaks discovered citywide have set back progress.

“We are turning a lot of services off, a lot of houses have leaks,” White said. “We’ve found a lot of damage on some things. We’ve had some damage on our property. We are mainly getting air out. That’s what we are doing now.”

City officials continue telling residents a perfect storm of high usage, extreme cold and a power outage led to this crisis.

“We are telling them the truth. We just don’t know when the timeframe is going to be and I think they want to hear something different,” White said. “We just don’t feel comfortable setting time frames. We just don’t know.”

Union City and Heaston also get their water from El Reno.

White told News 9 all the water pipes underground is equivalent to three-and-a-half full water towers.