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Officials recommend boiling water in areas around Lake Eufaula State Park and Checotah in rural eastern Oklahoma

A metal faucet mounted on a wall. It looks old and has some discoloration (looks like calcium deposits) around where it meets the wall, but no rust. The photo is shot right up against the wall so the faucet is in profile. A drop of water hangs from the faucet.
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Leaky lines left Checotah and the surrounding area without water last week.

Leaky pipes disrupted the water supply to Checotah, Lake Eufaula State Park, and parts of McIntosh County in eastern Oklahoma heading into the holiday weekend, and officials are still recommending caution.

The City of Checotah first notified its water customers of the leak on Sunday. That same morning, Rural Water District #9 of McIntosh County posted on Facebook that the district was relying on the water stored in its tower.

The tower held 230,000 gallons of water on Sunday—enough to last the water district three days with careful conservation.

“Please conserve now or our issue will be worse,” the district’s operator urged in a Facebook post.

By the next morning, both Checotah and Rural Water District #9 of McIntosh County had run out of water.

On Tuesday, the City of Checotah found and began working to fix a large leak in a water line just south of Lake Eufaula. But on Wednesday, the water still wouldn’t flow. It started trickling back into the system later that day, after officials found and repaired another major leak north of Lake Eufaula, according to another Facebook update.

The system is back up and running, but residents may experience lower water pressures than normal. The Rural Water District also recommends customers boil their water after such a major disruption to the system.

The district plans to submit water samples for testing as soon as possible after the Labor Day weekend. It expects to confirm whether the water is safe to drink by September 9.

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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