On a day when the threat was high for wildfires, one Green Country town was dealing with major water issues. Nearly our entire area is under a Red Flag fire warning because of strong winds, and now two water line breaks have people worried in Barnsdall, in Osage County, where city leaders are urging water conservation, and fire prevention.
Kathy Brown, water plant operator, said the town treatment plant discovered a water leak Monday. She said she came into work to find water backed up into the plant all the way into her office.
City crews in Barnsdall worked on the problem on Monday and Tuesday. The line burst forced them to go underneath the concrete floor to find the leak and fix it. It's the line that feeds treated water from the plant to a holding tank before it goes on to be stored in the city's water tower.
Chris Haley, Barnsdall Emergency Management Director, said, "They're getting some water right now."
But Haley said that may not last for long. The city's large storage tank, with a capacity to hold 131,000 gallons, still has water, but it's only about half full. So water customers are urged to conserve and take precautions.
"Everybody needs to boil, until we let them know, until further notice," Haley warned.
Anytime water service is impacted it's a worry, but on a Red Flag fire warning day, with winds whipping at about 30 miles per hour, city leaders are concerned about the potential for fires.
"We don't need any more right now, especially with the wind gusts right now," Haley said. "And low water pressure."
Fire trucks at the Barnsdall fire department are already loaded with water in case they're needed. Other area departments in Osage County are also on standby in case a fire starts in Barnsdall.
"We have all that covered, we have a tanker on standby right here in town and then we have three more from rural fire out here, so we're covered on that," said Haley.
The city has extra manpower working to fix the leak. They expect the work to be finished at the treatment plant within 48 hours. If people need water, an 18-wheeler loaded with water is located just off Main Street in Barnsdall near the community center.
Emergency management leaders said that water should also be boiled first before using it.