Cherokee Nation Helps Get Water Running In Oaks


Monday, August 15th 2011, 5:01 pm
By: News On 6


Emily Baucum, News On 6

OAKS, Oklahoma -- Water continues to be a problem in one Delaware County town. Many homeowners haven't had service in several weeks.

But with the help of the Cherokee Nation, people in Oaks are finally getting some water pressure.

8/9/2011 Related Story: Water Will Be Flowing Soon In Oaks

Oaks Mission students were supposed to head back last week. Instead, summer vacation was extended until the water was turned back on.

"It's been difficult to do anything. If you don't have water you can't do much of anything," Superintendent Wyman Thompson said.

In the meantime, Cherokee Nation engineers have been doing their homework.

"The wells went dry. Because of our heat wave they weren't producing enough water," Charlie Soap, with the Cherokee Nation, said.

Crews are installing new water lines that so far, are working. But nearly 200 families living outside of Oaks city limits still don't have water service.

"Many people are using the water which is reducing the pressure to the outlying areas," Soap said. "More improvement needs to be made to the system at the water tower. It's an old system."

Until those improvements are made, DEQ has a boil order in effect for anyone using the Oaks water system.

Many families are relying upon donated bottled water volunteers are handing out at the fire department.

"They're sitting up here, they're writing down the people who come up here and take the water each day." Oaks Fire Chief Vince Osburn said.

Firefighters say water pressure is still pretty low.

"If we had a large fire down here, like a structure fire, we'd be probably in a world of hurt," said Osburn

So they've borrowed water from a neighboring department.

As for class, it starts Wednesday. On the school supply list is - you guessed it - bottled water.

"Having bottled water is not a convenience where they could just go to the fountain and get a drink," Thompson said.

Cherokee Nation engineers hope everyone will have normal water service in a week. No word yet on when DEQ would lift the boil order.