City flushes water lines to keep drinking water safe - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City flushes water lines to keep drinking water safe

LAWTON, Okla._Lawton residents have expressed their concern about fire hydrants being on full blast for days at a time and its effect on the city's effort to conserve water during the drought.

The city's wastewater assistant director explained that the lines are being flushed to get rid of stagnant water that could potentially contain bacteria. The city is opening fire hydrants to flush stagnant water from areas that don’t use as much water as is needed to keep the problem at bay. The area around Bishop Road and Silver Oak isn’t as developed as other parts of town, but there are plans in place for development.

Lawton resident Kerry Huffer doesn’t believe that's a good enough reason for the hours of flushing.

"What seems odd to me is we have drought restrictions. We are under water rationing and they keep raising the water bill, but you don't nearly use as much water. Yet you see the city fire department come out and [they’re] running water down the gutters," said Huffer.

Oddly enough, those restrictions actually lead to these flushes. The houses in the neighborhood are under the same water restrictions as everyone else and that cuts usage even more. Wastewater Assistant Director Afsaneh Jabbar said they can't cut down on the amount of water that is pumped to the area either.

"We have to fill up all of our tanks in distribution just in case there is a fire. If there's fire and we aren't sending any water through distribution the fire department will have to rely on the water that is in the system. So we fill up all of our tanks for assurance," explained Jabbar.

Huffer understands there must be times for the flushing, but he believes there needs to be more planning.

"There ought to be some more applicable way of recycling that water other than just letting it run down the drains," said Huffer.

Many of our Facebook viewers suggested fire tankers transporting water to lakes or farmers filling up their tanks for their land. Jabbar explained fire tankers would not be cost effective and the other suggested idea is not safe.

"Because of cross contamination, we don't want anyone's equipment to be connected to our water. And the force of the water, for that reason we don't want anybody to get to close to it," said Jabbar.

Jabbar says except for water that evaporates, the rest goes back into drainage to be treated again. Jabbar also adds they don't consider it a waste because they have already accounted for the water lost from evaporation during the flushing.


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