Claremore Daily Progress

July 24, 2012

Bare to the Bone -City’s water towers running low, conservation requested

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Claremore residents are being asked to voluntarily conserve water in light of increased water line breaks and high temperatures.

“City officials are making a plea for residents to voluntarily conserve water due to the extreme temperatures and dry weather taking a toll on Claremore’s water delivery system,” said Cassie Woods, citys communications director. 
The city’s water treatment plant is currently operating at maximum capacity,   while the amount of water needed to meet demand has not yet become a problem, water line breaks have made keeping the towers full a major difficulty.  
This results in very low water pressure, which could cause health and public safety issues soon, Woods explained. 
If the pressure in the towers gets below a certain level, the city will be forced to issue a boil order.  
In addition, if a fire starts it would be difficult for firefighters to battle the blaze without enough pressure in the lines.  
To avoid these problems, the city is urging residents to voluntarily conserve water until the towers can be completely refilled.
Voluntary restrictions include residents being asked to limit consumption during the peak hours of 5 to 11 a. m. and 4  to 9 p.m.
In addition, officials are asking residents to refrain from doing excessive outdoor watering.  
Overnight, when there is minimal usage, is when the majority of water is released into the towers.  
Shutting off an overnight sprinkler system for a few days would help tremendously to increase the pressure in the towers to a safe level, Woods said.
Another big help would be to wait to fill up swimming pools or washing cars at home until further notice, she added.
City officials hope that by asking for voluntary conservation, the problem with filling the towers will resolve itself and usage can go back to normal soon.  
“However, if residents do not help and the problem worsens, the city will have to look at mandatory rationing with the potential for boil orders in the future,” Woods said.  
City officials have recently reported a number of major water line breaks that have caused water levels in city towers to drop or drain the towers.
Most recently, residents on the westside of Claremore have been experiencing low water pressure due to these ongoing issues.
“The Talbert Tower has been drained and crews are having difficulty refilling the tower,” said Jeremy Ledbetter director of public infrastructure.
The infrastructure in Claremore still consists of a number of old lines that have limited bedding around pipes. 
With extreme heat and dry conditions causes the ground to shift as a result the lines move and often times break under the pressure, Ledbetter explained.
The towers are currently refilling slowly and a couple of leaks in the lines are being repaired, Ledbetter reported Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, city crews rerouted some of the water lines using valve controls to the tower boost station.
At approximately 11:30 a.m water was moving back into the tower, Ledbetter added.
“It has been a headache but we are knocking it out,” he said.
Westside is a pressure zone and when water levels drop then pressure in the line drops and customers begin to see a noticeable difference in pressure.
Claremore Lake levels are currently down to 24 inches. Water is being pumped from Oologah Lake to help boost the levels, according to Ledbetter.
City officials will be reevaluating the situation in one week to determine if further action will be needed.
Citizens who have questions about the city’s request can contact the city manager’s office at (918) 341-8842.