OKLAHOLMA CITY – It’s a wet (and stinky) problem at the Oklahoma County Jail that the sheriff’s office said happens daily.
“It’s like, ‘Okay, grab your plastic and cover your desk,'” said Mark Opgrande with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office is on the first floor of the 13-story jail.
Officials said the sound of sewage water can be heard rushing from the floors above and employees act fast before it arrives. They drape their computers, desks and belongings with plastic tarps and bags.
During our time at the jail, the alarm went off — someone set off a fire sprinkler.
The inmates are creative. Often, authorities said they fill socks with various items and tie them to bed sheets and then flush.
It’s a system.
“So, when it goes down below to the other cells, they can actually use a similar contraption and reach down into their toilet and pull it out. So, you know, people transfer things back and forth,” said Opgrande, who added inmates trade items — including food — and even empty the toilets so they can talk through the pipes.
With sewage constantly coming through the ceiling, walls and even the lights - deputies, too, are creative.
“We actually had to put a bladder underneath the office right here,” Opgrande said.
A bladder acts as a tub above the ceiling tiles and holds and disposes of water coming down.
“There’s a big bladder underneath there that catches the water, and then we bring it down here into a trashcan and that’s been there for about a year I think,” Opgrande said.
The continuous problem has contributed to an ongoing mold problem in the jail, which officials are currently dealing with.