OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Nearly a week after the winter storm, people in one south OKC apartment complex are without running water.
717 Ventura South Apartments have 20 units that were impacted by the storm, according to a spokeswoman for the complex.
The delay in repairs means that residents cannot use their sinks or their showers.
“I have to fill that with water and get myself a sponge bath,” said Tamara Swindall, pointing to a small bucket in her living room.
Swindall said that to use the toilet, she needs to pour a bucket of water and actively pull the chain in the tank.
There is no water to drink or to make food.
“We have to go buy water, we’re being inconvenienced,” said Swindall.
On Saturday, the renter noticed that water was not working while she began cooking with her mother from out of town.
Hour after hour she waited, but it water never came back on.
“What a way to have to spend the holiday,” said Swindall.
She is going on five days and water bottles are the only source of H2O.
In a statement to KFOR, a spokeswoman said a mix between lack of resources and the number of impacted units has caused the delay.
“On Saturday, December 24, the property suffered numerous broken water pipes due to extremely low temperatures caused by Winter Storm Elliot. More than 20 apartments reported active leaks and it became necessary to shut off water to the property to fix the leaks and replace pipes. Although we took every precautionary measure possible and alerted tenants on how to winterize their apartments, the severity of the storm thwarted any efforts to minimize all damage.
We successfully sourced a handful of local area plumbers to start the repairs and they have been working since Saturday to repair the broken pipes and fix water leaks in order to restore water to the community. Since the damage of Winter Storm Elliot was so profound and widespread in Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, there has been a massive shortage of labor and material which is confounding the problem. Our local maintenance team has been working around the clock to source plumbing material in addition to managing the repairs.
Given the severity of local labor and material shortages, early this week, we decided to send our own repair teams from Texas to help speed up the repairs. Our Texas teams brought not only the additional manpower to quicken the repairs, but also the much needed materials that are in short supply in the local Oklahoma City area. We hope to have all repairs completed within the next couple of days and are working non-stop to resolve the matter.
We understand that this has been a difficult and trying time for our residents, especially considering that this has taken place over the Christmas Holidays, and we appreciate their patience and cooperation as the work continues. In the interim, we are providing clean and potable water bottles to all our residents to help them through this tough and unfortunate circumstance. – Connie Lopez, Regional Supervisor for Greenline Apartment Management.”
Brent Harpole, the master plumber for Champion Plumbing, said that a job that big is not easy for many local businesses.
“Sometimes people don’t have the workforce to do that,” said Harpole. “They’re talking about stripping an entire company of all of their workforce to focus on one project while at the same time declining work from others.”
Harpole said parts and materials have been hard to come by since 2020.
“Manufacturing slowed down, delivery slowed down. It was very difficult to get parts and still is,” said the plumber.
While costs can be as much as 200% more than they were two years ago, it is residents paying for these damages and delays.
“The inconvenience that we’ve had to go through from cooking to cleaning,” said Swindall, frustrated at the struggle to maintain a normal living environment. “It’s the inconvenience for sure.”