The City of Stillwater is asking residents to conserve water after its pump station at Kaw Lake froze overnight. The situation has been resolved but it will take a while for the amount of water the city's water utility holds in storage to recover.
City Manager Norman McNickle told the News Press the system should be able to fully recover overnight Thursday, even with usage.
All five of the pumps that deliver Stillwater's raw water supply froze during a Wednesday night power outage in the Ponca City area. Kaw Lake, which supplies about 2.4 billion gallons of water per year to Stillwater and its rural water customers, is located about 10 miles east of Ponca City in Kay County.
Water is pumped from Kaw Lake through 36 miles of pipeline to the city's water treatment plant.
Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said he learned about the frozen pumps around 5:30 a.m.
Two of the five pumps were restored within hours and are now up and running. However, water storage at the treatment plant was depleted, McNickle said. Water levels in storage tanks around Stillwater have also dropped, which may lower the water pressure in some areas until they have refilled.
In addition to city residents, the City of Stillwater serves several rural water districts. Rural water customers may notice a temporary drop in pressure as well, he said.
The City of Stillwater has an agreement with Oklahoma State University to provide water in emergency situations. OSU is putting 2 million gallons of water back into Stillwater's system while it recovers. McNickle said Stillwater normally uses about 5-6 million gallons a day just for city residents this time of year.
The situation was magnified by a major water leak at 19th Avenue and Jardot Road that caused the system to lose a large amount of water, McNickle said. City utility crews now have it shut off.
It likely won't be the last, he said. More leaks are bound to reveal themselves as temperatures move above freezing.
Stillwater avoided a similar situation Monday when the pumps at Kaw Lake froze due to sub-zero temperatures. A city crew made the hour drive over snow-packed roads and was able to thaw two of the pumps using propane heat.
The City of Stillwater is asking its residents to help by using water conservatively for the rest of the day as the reserve recovers and storage tanks fill.
Conservation efforts include:
· Avoiding long showers or filling up baths
· Waiting to run large appliances like washing machines and dishwashers
Stillwater is still experiencing below freezing temperatures and residents can continue to drip faucets to prevent frozen pipes.
For more information regarding the City’s winter weather plans, go to http://stillwater.org/news/view/id/678.