Tahlequah Daily Press

July 19, 2013

Retiree: RWD did not fulfill agreement

By SEAN ROWLEY
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A man living on 14-Mile Creek is locked in a dispute with Cherokee County Rural Water District No. 11.

Randy Wikel claims the district did not keep its promises when he granted access to water from the creek through his land.

“I donated the water to them for the good of the community,” he said. “I took no money. This was supposed to be a good thing, and they are turning it into a bad thing.”

Wikel said some people have suggested he file a lawsuit, but he only wants the agreement fulfilled.

“I don’t want to sue municipal services,” he said. “I don’t want the community to have to pay for this.”

When contacted by the Press, Harold McMillen, board chairman for RWD No. 11, declined comment.

The intake structure and pump house are in place, and Wikel said the facility is operational, having been used 54 days in 2012 and three days so far this year.

Wikel’s dispute with the water district stems from its purported failure to meet certain conditions. During an interview, he submitted copies of a signed project outline, an unsigned water rights agreement and a signed easement agreement.

The outline, which was signed by Wikel and former district manager Michael E. Gassaway, was dated Aug. 18, 2010. The easement agreement is signed by Wikel; his wife, Beverly; then-district Secretary C.B. Crossno; and then-Chairman Cairl Hayes, and it was dated Sept. 16, 2008.

The project outline mentions installation of the intake structure, pump station, fence and gate, all of which are constructed. It also mentions three placements of rip-rap (rocks), a 2-inch tap for the Wikels into the water line through their property, and restoration to original condition of the hay meadow through which the line runs.

The easement agreement states that:

• All pipes must be buried at least 30 inches underground.

• “Ditches shall be filled to grade.”

• Access to the facility would not pass through Wikel’s hay meadows.

• The Wikels could draw water for non-human consumption from one point in the line.

During a tour of the his property, Wikel noted depressions in his hay meadow, which he said made harvesting hay with his machinery impossible. On 14-Mile Creek, an emplacement of rip-rap is in place at the intake structure on the west bank. But 50 feet of rip-rap on the east bank and 200 feet on a south bank downstream – mentioned in the project outline – are not in place.

 

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