Senate Bill 1187, authored by Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, recently passed the senate. Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, is the House author. If signed into law, the measure could help facilitate reuse, including discharging a portion of Norman’s treated wastewater into a tributary of Lake Thunderbird to augment lake levels.
Because Thunderbird — Norman’s primary source of drinking water — is much closer to the plant than Lake Eufaula is, the wastewater would be treated to an even higher level before being discharged.
Reuse is not new to Norman. The University of Oklahoma uses reclaimed Norman water to irrigate the golf course, and Norman uses effluent in the treatment plant’s internal system.
“We realized we use a lot of water here,” Hardeman said. “That’s when we began talking about water reuse.”
The closed system at the plant made it easier for the city to get approval from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality for that application. Other applications for reuse have proven trickier, but new leadership at ODEQ and SB 1187 could facilitate the approval process in the future.
“It’s been assigned to one of our energy committees,” Martin said. “I’m going to be sitting down on Monday with the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District to discuss the particulars of the bill.”
Martin also had discussions with the DEQ and the Oklahoma Water Resource Board concerning the bill and furthering the idea of reuse.
“I’m encouraged by the response I’ve had from both agencies,” Martin said.
Since reuse at Norman’s wastewater plant was implemented in 2009, about 700 million gallons of water have been used that didn’t come from Norman’s drinking supply. Currently, about 15 million gallons a month are reclaimed from the system for use at the plant.
“Every drop of water that we reclaim is a drop of water that didn’t come from the water plant,” Hardeman said.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.