The Norman Transcript


February 22, 2013

Utilities work to keep costs down



“This will not get us more water in the summer when we exceed capacity,” Utilities Director Ken Komiske said. “It doesn’t make the pipes bigger so we can get more water.”

Norman hopes it will still be able to buy treated water on an emergency basis from Oklahoma City this summer when demand exceeds supply, but that could be a big “if.” OKC is struggling with water issues of its own.

Meanwhile, the Del City contract is good news for Norman as the city works toward building a comprehensive water portfolio to meet customer needs during the drought and beyond.

“Usage will be determined annually, and COMCD will bill us based on how much we use,” Assistant City Attorney Kathryn Walker said.

The proposed contract would start in May and run for five years with the potential for renewal of another five years. COMCD set the price for surplus untreated water at 33 cents per 1,000 gallons for this year, and that is the rate in the contract with Del City. Norman can draw up to 300 million gallons each year, but that could increase to 500 million gallons if both cities agree.

“All three cities pay a set fee for their allocations,” Komiske said. “This money will flow through COMCD but will offset Del City’s costs for its allocation.”

The city council also has been working with NMA on curbside recycling. The contract with Recycle America, a subsidiary of Waste Management, is coming to an end, and costs for the weekly collections are exceeding the $3 voters approved to pay for the service.

City staff presented proposals including a move to biweekly curbside service.

The biweekly collections would use a polycart allowing for the addition of cardboard to the recycling portfolio and would allow the city to continue the recycling operations without the need to ask voters for a rate increase. Polycarts hold more, have lids to prevent the wind blowing trash around and are easy to get to the curb because they have wheels.

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