Stillwater News Press

July 2, 2014

Commissioners consider emergency water supply

By Michelle Charles
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Commissioner Chris Reding has presented a concept report for an emergency water supply for county facilities to the Payne County Commission.

He said the report by Guernsey, an engineering firm that performed a water utility study for the city of Stillwater, outlines several options and potential costs.

Reding said he’s concerned about having to transfer county prisoners to other facilities if the county jail’s water supply were shut off for an extended period. He’s also considered how interrupting the water supply would impact fire fighting efforts.

The county courthouse and jail is equipped with a generator in case a disaster disrupts the power supply but there hasn’t been a contingency plan for water.

It would take 140,000 gallons to provide a week of domestic water usage and 105,000 additional gallons to provide enough water for fire fighting.

Adding capacity for fire fighting almost doubles the volume of water but doesn’t double the cost, Reding said.

The report examined the merits of different types of underground and above ground storage tanks, a water tower and groundwater wells.

Estimates ranged from a low of $660,000 for a vertical ground storage tank for domestic supply to a high of $2.25 million for a series of horizontal ground storage tanks for domestic use and fire fighting.

Those estimates included a 50 percent contingency for complicating factors because a site hasn’t been determined and 10 percent for design, permits and construction administration.

Sheriff R.B. Hauf said the jail has lost water service many times but luckily, the city of Stillwater has always gotten it restored fairly quickly.

“It’s pretty tense (in the jail) if the city has to shut the water off for repairs for any length of time, even during overnight,” he said.

“You just hope they have all the parts. Luckily, they’ve always had all their ducks in a row.”

Hauf said he and Reding have discussed the idea of having a backup water supply in the past but he hasn’t seen the Guernsey report.

He worries about the cost and practicality of the project.

“I just don’t know where we’d put it,” Hauf said. “Being prepared is always good but at what cost?”

Reding said the project will be included in the county’s hazard mitigation plan and he hopes a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency might cover a majority of it.