The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 19, 2014

Water has no memory

NORMAN — Part of the bond issue approved by Norman voters this past year had to do with moving forward on piping treated wastewater back into Lake Thunderbird.

Even though reclaiming treated wastewater is being done in many parts of the country, it’s a bit of a foreign language in Oklahoma.

Norman may be among the first in the state to reuse its treated water on a large scale.

Legislation encouraging the Department of Environmental Quality to establish procedures for water reuse and for addressing permit applications recently was approved by the state Senate.

Senate Bill 1187 was sponsored by state Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman.

Taking up the issue in the state House will be state Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman. Mr. Martin is a longtime proponent of water reuse.

The process is not as simple as building a pipe. It involves a higher level of treatment, since the distance from the treatment plant in south Norman to Lake Thunderbird is relatively short and limits natural filtering in creeks.

It also will have to address what diverting millions of gallons of treated wastewater from the Canadian River will do to communities downstream.

The discharge currently flows into the Canadian and eventually into Lake Eufaula, a water supply lake for many communities.

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