“I do not drink it,” Oklahoma town upset with smelly water after temporary source switch

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PAULS VALLEY, Okla. - An entire town has been forced to contend with smelly water for days after temporarily switching water sources, and it's been more troublesome than anyone expected.

"Brush your teeth and you're looking around going, 'What is that smell?'" said Paul's Valley resident Donna Harris.

Paul's Valley city manager James Frizell said the city was performing planned maintenance on the water lines that run from the normal water source, Longmire Lake. To avoid shutting off water altogether, the city instead pulled from the old city lake, Paul's Valley Lake, for 72 hours.

"The water being more turbid reacts with the chemicals we use to treat our water," said city manager James Frizell, "and it causes a taste and odor problem."

It's a disruptive side effect he said they didn't anticipate.

"But there's nothing wrong with the water," he said. "We still drink it."

No one we talked to said they're drinking it.

"I was at a restaurant at noon and they had gone and bought bottled water and just told the people straight up, 'We're not drinking the water, we've got bottled water, is that okay?'" said resident Brenda Hunt.

"I do not drink it," said Harris. "And I'm down to one bottle of water."

People around town said they can't bathe, wash dishes, do laundry; anything that can't be done with bottled water.

"My daughter who did laundry, she's going to have to redo everything because the smell is just awful," Hunt said.

But she insists it's not as bad as it could be.

"Every summer the lake turns over and we usually have dirty water," Hunt said. "This hasn't been real dirty, it's just smell. And as soon as they get back to the new lake we'll be fine."

The city has been flushing the lake's water out of its pipes.

Harris said she's looking forward to a clean-smelling bathroom.

"That's where I first smelled it," Harris said. "I thought, 'Oh Lord, the dogs have been in here somewhere,' and they hadn't. I blame everything on the dogs."