Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director
Officials with the Sequoyah County Water Association have stated that repairs to the major water lines that were damaged Monday night may not be finished until Friday. Muddy conditions and extensive damage are hindering the repairs and causing re-routing of hundreds of feet of new line. Approximately 2,500 homes in the county are either without water or have drastically reduced pressure.
But Steve Rutherford, Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director, is working hard to ensure that water is available to anyone in need.
Rutherford can be found at Blunt Baptist Church dispensing water to those affected by the shortage until the water supply is restored. Rutherford was on site handing out water until late Tuesday evening and was back at it early Wednesday morning. "I'll be here as long as people need me," Rutherford said.
Blunt Baptist Church is located approximately five miles north of Sallisaw on Old Highway 17. Water is limited to five gallons per household per trip and containers are not provided.
Social distancing and safety protocols are in place due to the COVID-19 virus.
The potable water is being provided by Sebastian County Emergency Management. Rutherford said he wanted to be sure to "give them plenty of credit". They have provided 400 gallons so far and they have another 400 gallons on standby to bring to Sequoyah County as soon as it's needed.
Rutherford said that Sequoyah County is part of the River Valley Emergency Management group which consists of approximately nine counties in Oklahoma and Arkansas. "We meet together to train and conduct drills for emergency situations just like this one," Rutherford said. "When Sebastian County heard about what was going on over here they called and asked what we needed."
Rutherford said they started the group around three years ago. "We can call on each other for help and it's better than doing things by ourselves," Rutherford stated. "We each have different equipment and different training."
KXMX News Staff
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