Health Department Orders Broken Arrow Restaurants Closed
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -
The Tulsa City-County Health Department announced Wednesday all restaurants using the City of Broken Arrow water supply must close immediately due to a precautionary boil order.
A major water main break Monday night forced the boil order for all residents and businesses.
By Wednesday morning, restaurants were ordered closed.
"Due to the volume of water needed to safely operate a restaurant, all food establishments that serve open food must cease operations immediately until such time that the boil order has been lifted," a news release said.
"Open food" is defined as food that is not prepackaged and is prepared on site.
A lot of people went out to for lunch, but were turned away.
"We looked at the door and it said the health department closed it, because the water was off," Peggy Clay said.
The restaurants were closed by the health department because of the boil order.
"I didn't even think about that," Brenda Amos said. "You can't boil, you wouldn't want to eat rice cooked in water not fit to drink."
Closing for a day or two is a huge hit, even for a small restaurant.
"Well, today should be $2,000. One day should be $2,000," restaurant owner Christine Li said.
For the largest restaurants, like Los Cabos, the losses are larger. They threw out $1,400 worth of food being prepped for lunch.
"We've got a large job to do," owner Jimmy Blacketer said. "We've got to completely clean and drain the water from the ice machines, Pepsi is coming and they'll clear out all the water from their machines, and then we run our faucets for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then we'll get the all clear from there."
A PSO transformer that powers Broken Arrow's water treatment facility went out Monday night, forcing the city to shut off its main water valve to Pryor. It burst when they reopened it Tuesday.
When the tanks ran low, the pressure dropped, and that could have pulled contamination in through gaps in the pipe.
Before reopening once the boil order is lifted, food establishments must flush their water system, discard previous ice supplies, and wash-rinse-sanitize all food contact equipment, according to health department.
Wanda J's restaurant stayed open Wednesday, because they didn't get the call to close down. They made lunch using packaged ice and bottled water.
Owner Ty Walker said they went through, "about 10 cases of bottled water and about 20 gallons in jugs of water, so we could make coffee and tea this morning."
But dozens of other restaurants never opened Wednesday, and now will remain closed through Thursday.
The Broken Arrow City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
The council passed a resolution banning outdoor watering, punishable by fines up to $500.
City crews on Wednesday sampled the water and conducted tests. The results will not be back until Thursday, according to city spokesperson Stephanie Higgins. Until results show there are no negative impacts on the system, the boil order advisory will remain in effect, Higgins said.
Officials said under the boil order residents should bring water to full, rolling boil for at least 1 minute before consumption, food preparation, dish washing, tooth brushing, wound care and bathing infants who may ingest bath water.
City pools and splash pads will remain closed until the advisory is lifted.
St. John Hospital in Broken Arrow voluntarily closed its doors Wednesday afternoon due to the water emergency.