Water Utility FAQs

Water Utility FAQs

Some of the most common questions regarding our water utility service are below.

Click a question in the list below to be taken to the answer in the answer list. If your question is not here, email utilitypayments@stillwater.org or call 405.742.8245.

drink tap logo  Additional information on drinking water, including information on lead, can be found at Drinktap.org.



Why do I have no or low water pressure?

If you are experiencing no water or low pressure, try to answer the following questions:

  • Is the aerator on the faucet clogged?

  • Is the customer side shut-off valve shut or frozen (if it’s winter)?

  • Is the problem different between hot and cold water or at different locations in the home?

  • Do you have a whole home filter or softener?

If you answered “yes,” you may need a plumber to address a problem with your household plumbing. If you answered “no” to all questions, see below.

  • Are City crews working in the area?

  • Are your neighbors experiencing the same problem?

  • Do you see or feel soft, wet spots in the yard or pavement area?

  • Do you see water outside running heavier than normal or where it normally isn't?

If you answered “yes,” there may be a problem with the City water line. There may be a leak on the main line, hydrant flushing could be occurring or there could be high demand. For more information, contact 405.533.8048 during the hours of 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 405.372.3292 after 3:30 p.m. or on weekends.

How do I turn my water off to do home repairs?

  • If you have a shut-off valve on your side of the meter, you or your plumber can use that to shut off your water. If you do not have a shut-off valve, you can call the City at 405.533.8048 to request water be shut off at your meter.

Unless it is an emergency, neither you nor your plumber should open your meter box and operate the meter valve.

How will I be affected during a Water or Sewer Project?

There are different types of water and sewer line work occurring throughout the City. Some work is done by the development community, other work by the Water Utilities Engineering Department as a capital improvement project and some work is regular maintenance or emergency repair performed by the Water Utilities Department. 

Depending on the work needed, there may be times when your water service is interrupted. If the work is planned, you will be notified in advance by a letter in the mail or a notice on your front door. If you've signed up for Be Informed Stillwater, you'll also receive notice through the method (text, voice, email) you chose when creating your profile. During emergency water line repairs, we will not be able to notify you in advance. Our goal during all water service interruptions is to work diligently to minimize the amount of time you are without water.

Water and sewer line work require digging with large excavation equipment to expose the buried utilities. This work will occur in the public right of way or an easement. Take care to not cross into a work zone, as there will be safety hazards including open trenches. There may be times when the street in front of your property is restricted, but these restrictions should not limit access to your property and will be temporary.

If you notice your phone, cable, electricity, gas, water or sewer service is not working properly, attempt to notify the Contractor or City Inspector at the job site without entering the work zone. If no workers are present, call the company which owns the utility that is not functioning properly. Phone numbers for utilities can often be found on a recent utility bill. Calling the utility company directly is the quickest way to restore service.

After the work, the site will be restored to as good or better condition once all the work is complete. Depending on the time of year the work takes place, sod may not be available or have a hard time growing at the site. It is not your obligation to water the new sod in the right of way, but watering the new sod will help it grow and fully establish.

If you notice cloudy or dirty water after a recent water line project in your area, first try flushing your indoor plumbing (see the question below).

If the problem persists, the City water lines may need to be flushed. Please call 405.533.8048.

How can I flush my indoor plumbing?

Start outside your home or building if you have an outside spigot or faucet:

  • Locate an outside spigot or faucet closest to the water meter.

  • Run the water with the faucet all the way open for at least 5 minutes. You can attach a hose to direct water if needed.

Move to inside your building:

  • Remove the aerator screens from all the faucets.

  • Locate the first faucet closest to your meter, on the first floor.

  • Run the water with the faucet all the way open for 3-5 minutes.

  • Move to the next faucet and repeat procedure until all the faucets have been flushed (including the tub and shower).

How do I establish new water service?

  • You may apply for a water meter by filling out the Water Meter Request Application Form and bringing it to Planning located on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis St.

How can I report a water or sewer leak?

  • Call 405.533.8048 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to report any water or sewer issues (the after-hours number for any water, sewer or electric emergency is 405.372.3292). Include information that will help field personnel locate and repair the leak more quickly.

Why does the City flush certain hydrants?

  • Routine flushing of hydrants helps remove sediments or deposits that naturally accumulate over time in the pipes. If not removed, water quality will deteriorate causing taste, odor and discoloration problems.

  • You may also notice hydrants being flushed (“flow tested”) during the day by firefighters or Water Services Operations staff. They are flow testing to identify the amount of water a certain fire hydrant can deliver during an emergency situation.

Why are hydrants painted different colors?

  • Yes, the colors painted on fire hydrants actually mean something! Colors are a quick way for firefighters to determine how much water is available from that hydrant. There are standardized color codes for the amount of water gallons per minute the hydrant can support. These colors are painted on the tops of the hydrants:


1500 gpm or more

Very good flows


1000-1499 gpm

Good for residential areas


500-999 gpm

Marginally adequate


< 500 gpm


Based on NFPA 291. Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and marking of Hydrants, 2016. <500 GPM does not conform to NFPA standard.

Why is my water dirty/cloudy?

If you are experiencing dirty/cloudy water, some things to consider are:

  • Has there been any plumbing done lately on your side of the meter?

  • Is the discoloration only in a certain area of the house?

  • Does the water dissipate or become clear after setting in the glass for a while?

  • Is the problem different between hot and cold water?

  • Do you notice the problem in different areas of the house?

If yes, you may need a plumber to address a problem with your household plumbing. If you answered no, contact 405.533.8048.

Why does my water taste/smell/feel different than normal?

  • Changes in seasons or rainfall may affect the quality of water being drawn from Kaw Reservoir, the City’s water supply lake. The City will test your water to verify that it is safe to drink at any time. Call 405.533.8048.

  • Information that will help field personnel understand what you’re tasting, smelling or feeling:

  • Describe the taste. Metallic? Earthy?

  • Describe the odor. Sweet? Rotten eggs?

  • Describe the feel. Slippery? Sticky?

  • Is it only hot or cold water?

  • Do others in your house notice the same issues?

  • Do your neighbors notice the same issues?

  • Try filling a glass of water and moving away from the faucet. Does the water in the glass still smell?

  • Other factors that may affect the way your water tastes, smells and feels:

  • Changes in personal medication.

  • Changes in soaps.

  • Odors from other sources.

  • Water softening equipment.

How hard is our water?

  • Water hardness is determined by the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium.

  • The City of Stillwater’s average water hardness range is: 115-130 mg/L CaCO3. This can vary with the seasons and weather, due to adjustments in the treatment process.

Water Hardness Scale

Grains Per Gallon

Milligrams Per Liter (mg/L)or Parts Per Million (ppm)

Degree of Hardness

less than 1.0

less than 17.1


1.0 - 3.5

17.1 - 60

Slightly Hard

3.5 - 7.0

60 - 120

Moderately Hard

7.0 - 10.5

120 - 180


over 10.5

over 180

Very Hard

Information provided by the Water Quality Association.

Can I get a tour of the Water Treatment Plant or the Wastewater Treatment Plant?

  • We love showing off our facilities! For the Water Treatment Plant, contact Thomas Novotny. For the Waste Water Treatment Plant, contact Jason Tyler.

Who can help me understand my water bill?

  • The City of Stillwater’s Utility and Billing Services department can answer your Billing and Payment questions.

How often should I water my lawn? Are there any water restrictions?

  • If you would like to know more about lawn irrigation or drought tolerant planting, the Payne County OSU Cooperative Extension Center can provide resources. Visit their website at oces.okstate.edu/payne.

Are there any outdoor watering restrictions?

  • At this time, the City of Stillwater does not have any restrictions on water usage.

How do I get a hydrant flow test?

  • The City will perform a flow test at no charge.

How can I check for water plumbing damages due to earthquakes?

  • Call the City and arrange an appointment to open your meter lid (there is no charge for the City to open your meter lid). Turn off all water fixtures in your home, and then check the meter to make sure it is not showing water usage.

  • Your meter has a small triangle on the dial called a “leak detector.” It will move with even low flow rates. If your leak detector is moving and no water is on in the home, you may have a leak. Contact a plumber to check for leaks in your pipe joints.

What is the Twin Tower Moratorium?

  • In August 2011, the City of Stillwater placed a restriction on new water connections (taps) in a designated area south of Stillwater. This restriction was put in place to preserve the condition of existing lines and customer water pressure until new infrastructure could be built to keep up with demand in the area. The moratorium states that each undeveloped parcel and platted lot that existed on July 18, 2011 and located adjacent to an existing water line be allowed 1 domestic tap (view Resolution amending Rural Water Corp 3 terms of service). The boundary of the moratorium is the area that is currently served by the Twin Towers, located near 44th Avenue and Country Club Road (map). The Water 2040 Program will address the growing demand in this area, allowing the moratorium on new water taps to be lifted in the future.  

Where does our water come from?

  • The City’s water supply comes from Kaw Lake, located 10 miles east of Ponca City. Water is pumped about 36 miles to the City of Stillwater Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which is located on the north side of the City. At the WTP, Kaw Lake raw water is treated through chemical and physical processes. Chemicals are added to the process for various reasons. The coagulant chemical, aluminum sulfate, helps the fine particles combine into larger particles that become heavy and settle to the bottom of the settling basin. The softening chemical, calcium oxide, causes dissolved hardness particles to precipitate which also allows the particles to settle to the bottom of the basin. Disinfection, another chemical process, is accomplished with ozone, which improves taste and odor. Chloramines are used in the distribution system as the disinfectant residual. The addition of fluoride to the finished water helps improve oral health. Physical processes occurring in the water treatment process include mixing, flocculation, clarification and filtration.

How is the City’s wastewater treated?

  • Throughout the City of Stillwater, a sewer collection system collects discharged wastewater from domestic, commercial and industrial users. Wastewater flows through a network of pipes and pumps to the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which is located on the southeast side of the City. At the WWTP, the wastewater first enters the headworks process where bar screens remove large objects and rags. Smaller rocks and grit are removed through the grit removal process. The wastewater is then pumped to the primary clarifiers where the wastewater slows down. Here, solids are allowed to settle to the bottom of the basin and scum (fats, oils and greases) is allowed to float to the top. Both settled solids and floating solids are removed in this process.   

The wastewater then flows to the aeration basins where air is mixed with the water giving the microorganisms the ability to break down the organic matter in the wastewater mixture. Next, the solution is pumped to a secondary clarifier where settling occurs, again. The treated water at the top of the basin is disinfected through ultraviolet light, which inactivates the microorganisms. The reclaimed water is then discharged to the receiving stream. 

The wasted solids collected from the bottom of the basins are treated through additional processes with heating, mixing, and settling, and is eventually injected into the soil of the fields owned by the City of Stillwater located adjacent to the WWTP.  

The level of treatment and effluent quality for both the liquid and the solids streams surpass the mandates provided by the EPA and ODEQ, which are in place to protect the receiving stream and downstream communities.