NORMAN — The Norman City Council approved a contract for an engineering study for a northside sewer plant with HDR Engineering Inc. for $249,935. The contract was hotly debated before its approval.
HDR was the low bidder, but in the form that the council approved the contract, a work change order will be coming forward soon to add additional scope of work to include information from the city’s Strategic Water Supply Plan and water options including a phased plan of reuse water from Moore’s wastewater discharge.
The Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District asked Moore to consider treating wastewater to a higher level and discharging it into one of Lake Thunderbird’s tributaries to augment lake levels. Norman also will look at that option with the northside plant.
Moore would incur capital costs to implement such a program and has made it known it will not incur those costs to Norman’s benefit. Norman, then, would likely foot the bill, but that may be part of the water solution Norman is looking toward as it seeks creative solutions to the demand for more water.
As mayoral candidate Tom Sherman said in a public comment to the council, with Oklahoma’s movement forward to adopt gray water reuse options, wastewater is usable water — if it’s highly treated and discharged back into a water source.
The Strategic Water Supply ad hoc committee is looking at many options including gray water reuse. Those elements will be examined as part of the engineering study for the northside plant.
“The engineering report is kind of a feasibility study at this point,” Utilities Director Ken Komiske said. “It will give us some things, even if we don’t build it right away.”
Komiske said water reclamation technology changes, but much of the information will be valuable for many years. Information on reuse associated with the plant is one of those areas.