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Water is being restored to Porter Hill area

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PORTER HILL, Okla._Progress has been made in restoring running water for Porter Hill residents who gone without since Friday evening.

Engineers for Rural Water District 2 have found the leak and are working on fixing the problem. They say the process could still take a few hours to repair and a day or so before it's turned back on.

They had narrowed it down to a seven mile stretch of land and mile-by-mile they had to fill up the pipe to see if the water level would go down; each mile taking a few hours at a time. Once they found which mile section it was in they then had to narrow down to a few hundred feet to start the repairs.

"This has been going on now for two or three days and we've been working steadily since then to try to determine what the problem is and how to resolve it," explained engineer Al Jung.

When Jung and his crew were notified the water was not running they took to the air to try to figure out where to pinpoint it, looking for any pooling water. That did not work though because of the area the leak turned out to be.

"It's pretty rocky and a lot of limestone and there are a lot of cracks in the limestone as you can see. In this terrain there's a lot of open areas that water can just disappear. So the water lines are underground so if there is a leak there, the water can just drain down through the limestone and we will never see it at the surface," said Jung.

As Jung's crew worked, so did local businesses which rely on water. The bait shop on Meers-Porter Hill Road wasn't completely out of water, but it was down to a trickle, taking them hours to clean and refill their minnow tank. The convenience store across the street, overwhelmed with customers buying bottled water, had to double their water order and all their fountain drinks were out of order. Customers who needed to use the restroom also had to be turned away.

Jung says the county is undergoing a capital improvement plan to help bring more water from the Sterling area, but as far as avoiding this problem again, it can't be ruled out.

"The district was started back in the 1950s and 60s so a lot of our waterlines are very old, 50 plus years old. So any time you have old water lines you can have breaks," explained Jung.

Now that the leak has been found it will still take a few hours to get repaired and then a day or so until its running back at 100 percent. Customers should also expect air in the water line at the beginning. The engineers don't expect any contamination, but if you notice your water looks different be cautious.

Once the leak is completely fixed, the tank will need to refill before water runs at 100 percent, Jung encourages residents to conserve so that will happen faster.

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