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Sunny Slopes Mutual Water upgrades 4,800 feet of pipes

The Sunny Slopes Mutual Water System, a cooperatively owned provider that serves 40 homes in Tahlequah, is overhauling its main pipes, installing 4,800 feet of new pipe.

The system needed to be replaced because of its age, said Sunny Slopes board member Wil Spencer — its newest parts were more than 30 years old, and its oldest parts were more than 40 years old.

He said the system was pieced together over the years, wherever the cheapest pieces could be found, and that was sometimes in people’s garages.

Sunny Slopes customers can expect better water flow with their new pipes and cleaner water, Spencer said, although he said the water in Tahlequah is already “exceptionally clean.”

The water system will be on a generator, so residents won’t lose water if the power goes out, he said.

Kimmco Inc. is performing the work, and Sunny Slopes took out a low-interest federal loan through the public works board to complete the $297,000 project.

“We had to do an archaeological study for anything that could possibly crop up in the way of native artifacts” before beginning work, Spencer said. The study turned up nothing of interest.

The mutual water system was created in 1995, when community members got together and bought the water system from a Tahlequah resident who owned it. He had started the system in the 1960s, back when he owned “a huge strawberry ranch,” Spencer said. The water system “grew as it was needed” with development in the area and became a community asset 13 years ago.

Sunny Slopes serves homes in the neighborhood of 131st Avenue S.W. south of S.W. 297th Street on the south end.

Work is scheduled to be completed June 23, and Spencer said the project is already ahead of schedule.

— Amelia Heagerty

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