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Piles of tattered textiles, debris pulled from city sewers, sourced back to Oklahoma County jail

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma County Jail has had its fair share of infrastructure problems over the years, especially when it comes to water raining down on those inside.

Sheriff's Office officials say the source of the water problems usually stems from inmates stuffing sheets and other items down the toilets, causing flooding on the lower floors of the 13-story building.

"Almost every day there will be some part of this facility where water's coming down, and it's not water, it's sewage," said Oklahoma County Sheriff spokesman Mark Opgrande. "And a lot of it has to do with the inmates flushing stuff down the toilets, for whatever reason."

But what goes down the drain, must also be pulled out, outside the jail's walls. Oklahoma City utility crews worked late into the evening Tuesday to do just that, pulling up mounds of debris, tattered scraps of textiles. The items causing sewer system backups and funky smells in the area of Colcord Drive and Shartel Avenue.

The recent work highlighting just one of a number of ongoing issues with the nearly 30-year-old facility. The sewage backups caused by items flushed down the toilet costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mold removal has been a major expenditure on the county's capital projects budget. On Thursday, the jail's kitchen reopened after more than a year of mold abatement, costing $300,000. This last spring, the jail's water was shut off for the day to install control valves to help stem the downpour onto lower floors.

A city utility official telling News 4 late Thursday afternoon that the city is working with the sheriff's office to find a long-term corrective action plan to prevent further sewer line problems.