The Norman Transcript

Government

January 19, 2014

EPA webinar highlights Norman for environmental accomplishments

NORMAN — When people know their jobs count, they can make a difference. Starting in 2005, the city set a course to implement green strategies, in part by energizing employees in every department to look for ways to conserve energy, reduce waste, and make Norman more environmentally friendly.

The city’s Green Team is made up of city employees from every department, and nowhere have results been more successful than in the utility division.

On Thursday, Norman’s efforts were recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as the city was featured in a nationwide webinar.

“It’s a huge honor. There are thousands of wastewater treatment plants just in Oklahoma alone,” said Utilities Director Ken Komiske. “For them to pick us is an acknowledgment that Norman is proactive. We have the support of council and our customers. We couldn’t do it without them.”

The webinar highlighted Norman’s energy efficiency accomplishments and green initiatives which resulted in the reduction of an average monthly electric bill from $43,00 to $30,000.

Water Reclamation Facility Superintendent Steven D. Hardeman told webinar viewers that city green initiatives in 2007 caused utility employees to look at the energy management at the southside water reclamation facility — the city’s sewer plant.

Power is one of the highest expenditures at the plant which uses advanced secondary biological treatment of wastewater. Employees who work in the plant and have daily experience made some of the first power saving suggestions, then the city’s partnership with Garver Engineers resulted in more ideas and more savings.

Hardeman said that 63 percent of the operations and maintenance cost at the wastewater treatment plant is utility cost, and 85 percent of the electric used is spent at the aeration basin.

Microbes clean Norman’s wastewater, eating harmful bacteria and other waste products so that the reclaimed water can be released into the river where nature finishes off the job of cleaning and filtering the water. Just like human beings, those microbes need oxygen to survive and the more they work, the more oxygen they use.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Government
  • Council OKs $48.8M contract for wastewater plant upgrades

    The Norman City Council awarded a $48.8 million project for wastewater treatment plant upgrades Tuesday. The council accepted a $50.3 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund....

    April 23, 2014

  • Craft breweries new category of Okla. made

    Norman will now recognize Oklahoma brewers to allow craft breweries to operate under special licensing. On Tuesday, the city council approved the creation of an additional category of Oklahoma Brewer to the city’s fee schedule for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • City home first to include gray water system

    Neighbors are likely to be green with envy when Allen and Sallie Ahlert have a beautiful lawn and garden without paying extra for city water in the future. That’s because the Ahlerts are including a gray water system in the new home they ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Anti-abortion picketers target Moore schools

    MOORE — Moore City Council member Robert Krows said problems with picketers at schools have gravitated from Norman to Moore and parents are concerned....

    April 22, 2014

  • Oklahoma receives $77.18M tobacco settlement payment

    Oklahoma recieved $77.18 million in annual payments from the tobacco industry under the national Master Settlement Agreement. With the latest receipts, Oklahoma has received $1.16 billion since payments began in 1999. State Treasurer Ken ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board grants Norman low-interest loan for facility upgrade

    Norman has been authorized for a $50.3 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to fund Phase 2 of the Norman Water Reclamation Facility upgrade. “It’s the single largest loan OWRB has made,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. ...

    April 17, 2014

  • General fund continues to decline as expenses exceed anticipated revenues

    Norman’s expenses will again outstrip projected revenue in the current budget before the city council. The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July and ends June 30, 2015, projects $210,982,020 in total revenues and $213,436,778 in ...

    April 16, 2014

  • County hears presentation on employment opportunities

    The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation Monday to consider partnering with a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for prison inmates re-entering the community. Patrick Viklund, Center for ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Drilling operation shows policy gap

    While Norman residents are being encouraged to use rain barrels, a Texas oil and gas company is pumping thousands of gallons of treated drinking water into the ground. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission controls permits for drilling, ...

    April 12, 2014