McALESTER, Oklahoma - 11 a.m. update

McAlester Mayor John Browne releases statement: 

“I just left the water plant and we have the #2 pump running. It pumps app. 4400 gallons per minute. At this time, it is the only pump running. I will explain that later in this message. We do have one Rural District that is still without water being pumped. This is due to the line break yesterday. We have a crew working to get that up and going.

What happened overnight is when the system ran low, it also emptied the filter beds. This forced us to backwash the filters in order to ensure quality water was being pumped. This is now completed and we are pumping water back into the system.

The system overall ran down to a very low level. The tanks along with the lines themselves were emptied. As you can guess pumping 4400 gpm will take some time to get it back up. We are requesting everyone to conserve as much as possible throughout the day. If you can put off doing laundry, etc. until later in the day it will help us refill the system.

We are not under a Mandatory Boil Order, we have issued a voluntary, precautionary order to ensure that no contamination has occurred during the downtime. At this point, there is no indication of any contamination and we are working very hard to make sure that continues.

We anticipate, with everyone working to conserve as much as possible, we should have, by noon, some water running for everyone. It will be low pressure, and possibly sporadic depending on the demand, but should be flowing.

Now, what we are doing to improve the situation:

Tomorrow at app 7:00 a.m., we will be doing a planned shutdown. This will last app. 4hrs. We are doing this in order to get another pump online. We have 4 pumps at the plant. We usually run 2 of them, 1 primary with the other being backup. Of our 4 pumps; #1 is the one that caught on fire, #2 is running, #3 was in the process of switching to the new controls and is currently offline, #4 is in the shop for repairs. Tomorrows shut down will be to get the #3 pump back online. If the #2 pump were to fail, we can pull the motor from #3 to use in pump 1. We are not doing so at this time because we haven't yet determined why #1 burned. We are using this plan as a contingency. We are also contacting the company that has pump #4 and are pushing them to prioritize getting that pump back as further backup.

I will post every 5 min after the hour updates. Thank you to everyone for their patience. We are working hard to get this going and providing safe clean water.

Please share this to get the word out to as many people as possible. Once again thank you for your patience and please conserve as much as possible.”

10 a.m. update

The City of McAlester posted an update on Facebook saying the single operational pump at the plant is still working to recharge the system, but it will be a matter of time before the system is recharged.

The city says it’s now producing around 4,400 gallons per minute.

According to the post, the best thing everyone in the area can do is conserve water as it becomes available so that the system can recharge quicker. 

Workers have been working to resolve the situation since 2 a.m Friday.