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Residents concerned construction runoff is ruining lake

OKLAHOMA CITY - Some residents in a northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood are concerned a new construction project is ruining the lake in their subdivision.

"The whole neighborhood uses this lake; it's our centerpiece. It`s a terrible travesty." said Joe Arcisz, an Oakdale Valley resident. He is talking about the runoff from an adjacent construction project polluting the community lake.

"Those heavy rains washed all that sediment down into the creek on the west side of the property and that flowed right into our lake and turned it this beautiful dark brown that you see," said Arcisz.

The Oakdale Baptist Church on Sooner and Hefner Road is building a new facility further east on Hefner.

Arcisz says the church and its builders have side-stepped zoning laws, and cleared eight acres of Upling forest.  Now with the steep grate on the site and all that exposed dirt, the runoff is flowing into a creek and ending up in the lake

"It blocks the sunlight from reaching the plant life at the bottom of the lake which is a source of food for fish; it gets in their gills and causes disease and will ultimately kill the habitat in the lake," said Arcisz.

Arcisz says state officials have been out to take a look. After checking with the DEQ and the city, News 4 found that no violations or citations have been issued.

News 4 contacted Oakdale Baptist Church, they sent us a text from the pastor Justin Ford. He said any construction project questions should go through Lingo Construction. They are the company handling the project.

We contacted Lingo Construction.  Owner Stan Lingo issued this statement,

"Lingo Construction has and will continue to work responsibly with our clients and surrounding communities. During initial setup of the project, Lingo secured proper permitting and has installed erosion control measures well beyond what was required in the approved plans. Along with much of the state, we have faced repeated heavy rains and have continuously repaired and supplemented erosion controls. Our work has been observed and reviewed by authorities having jurisdiction. It is worthwhile to note, an adjacent creek, totally outside of our project, feeds the pond and has been flowing with unfiltered red stormwater bank-to-bank on multiple occasions. Lingo Construction will continue to do our part to control stormwater runoff for our project."

Hayley Butler from the Oakdale Valley HOA says the neighborhood has been working with the church and the construction company.

She says the lake has been dirty like this before during other periods of construction. She told News 4 the record rains in August and September have made for this special situation.

"It's their job to anticipate that and to put in the proper controls so that there isn't any discharge off of their property and they have failed to do that," said Arcisz.

Arcisz says Lingo has put hay down recently to try to help with the runoff.

"But the damage is done and at this point they need to make it right.  They should bear the expense of taking care of that for us," said Arcisz.