Water main breaks and freezing temperatures causing big problems for metro hospitals

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The City of Oklahoma City is working around the clock to repair water main breaks. As of 9:30 am. Wednesday, they were working on 31 main breaks across the city. KFOR has learned some major city hospitals are feeling the effects.

“Water is a primary concern right now,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

Winter weather is causing the city to work on overdrive; with water dripping from faucets from nearly every home, usage is way up.

“Our current water demand, as the mayor said, is double our typical winter usage. Normal winter time demand is about 75 million gallons a day, and currently we’re pumping over 150 million gallons a day,” said Chris Browning, City of OKC Utilities.

And those water problems, along with freezing temps, are causing big problems for Oklahoma City metro hospitals.

Integris told KFOR “the Northwest Expressway and Portland Avenue campuses of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center continue to experience water interruptions.”

KFOR is hearing from more than one source that Baptist does not have water on every floor or in every building.

When asked about this directly, we received this response from INTEGRIS, saying in part, “We do have water at our Northwest Expressway campus. We have limited water at our Portland campus. We are supplementing with bottled water as needed.”

INTEGRIS Portland is also facing issues with their boilers, causing the hospital to move surgeries from the Portland campus to Baptist.

Integris says it has “disrupted our ability to consistently heat the building.” 

But they say they have a temporary solution in place to restore heat.

Across town, the Oklahoma City VA Hospital is dealing with water leaks, saying the water main breaks near the medical center are the cause. 

The VA told KFOR, “We have experienced lower water pressure and had some frozen drain piping that became backed up and caused water leaks in certain admin areas.”

They say piping connected to the fire sprinkler systems froze, causing the pipes to snap and burst, leaking water from the ceiling. But they say those leaks have been contained and “no patient care areas were impacted or affected.” 

But a source inside the VA told us on Tuesday night there was no water to flush toilets, take showers or baths. When we asked the VA about those specific issues, they told us “we have had reduced water pressure due to city water main breaks. Many other hospitals in the area are experiencing similar issues. However, we do have water. “

The city tells us water main breaks are taking longer to repair due to the cold temperatures crews are working in. They are having to take breaks to switch out crews and let them warm up.

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