Residue-filled pipelines, bad-tasting water prompts Guthrie city officials to take action

GUTHRIE, Okla. - It's a common complaint in some small towns and cities: water that doesn’t taste great.

Now, Guthrie’s city manager is taking action.

Photos show the inside of two steel water lines that run through the city’s distribution system. They may look alarming, but they are coated with minerals.

Some of them are more than 100 years old, but it is all safe.

Each month, the city sends samples to a lab and the findings show the water meets DEQ standards.

But, just because it’s safe doesn’t mean people like it.

In Guthrie, residents said there are a lot of great restaurants but their only complaint is the water.

"It's just one of the things you just have to grin and go on,” said Mickael Lewis, owner of Missy’s Donuts.

When it comes to breakfast and lunch, her restaurant is one of the busiest places in town.

That keeps Lewis on her toes and constantly explaining the water problem.

"They'll say ‘Oh the coffee.. it tastes a little different today,’” Lewis said. “It's just part of it."

But, that isn’t stopping their countless loyal customers.

Some News 4 talked to said they don’t notice it in the coffee, which they buy every day the restaurant is open.

They said the pros, namely the donuts, outweigh the cons.

But, that doesn’t mean they haven’t noticed the taste of Guthrie’s water over the years.

"I left here in 1963 and, at that point, the water wasn't tasty,” said Robert Dean. “I came back in 1983, and it hasn't missed a beat I don't think."

It’s a problem the city manager said the city is trying to manage but, sometimes, it’s out of their control.

When there are line breaks or the city does hydrant flow tests, it stirs up the residue in the water lines. That causes the water to just not look, smell or taste right.

Right now, they’re trying to figure out which lines need to be replaced first, but it will be a costly process.

Residents we talked to aren’t too sure they want to pick up the tab.

“We’re taxed, probably one of the highest small city taxes in the state,” Dean said. “Where does it stop, you know?"

The city manager said, once they break the water line replacement into phases, they will have detailed cause estimates.