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January 31, 2014

Cleaner, better water is on the way for Norman during Phase II

NORMAN — The Norman Water Treatment Plant is receiving a long overdue upgrade. Phase I was completed in fall 2010. Now the city is starting on Phase II.

Taste and odor concerns will be addressed, safety will be improved and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality of regulations will be satisfied when the final phase of the upgrade is complete.

Phase I was a $12.5 million project that added a generator and a new clarifier, replaced the filter system, upgraded much of the electrical system and replaced lime slakers.

The city paid for this project using a federal loan administered by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Because of the environmentally friendly components of the project, the city received a $2 million principal forgiveness. That $2 million loan credit came through the American Resource and Recovery Act.

Now Phase II is under way. Carollo Engineers, the consultants designing the project, have completed the pilot study and are entering the design phase.

A key element driving Phase II is the need to meet Oklahoma regulations for improving the disinfection process.

“The DEQ has changed their regulations regarding primary disinfection of the water, and so we have to change to meet the new regulations,” Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said. “The chloramine disinfection we have now will still be used throughout the distribution system as a secondary disinfectant, but the state is requiring a stronger, more active primary disinfection process.”

After a cost analysis and a seven-month-long pilot study, Carollo is recommending ozone biofiltration as the most cost-effective treatment for Norman’s needs. This method also provides the best water quality.

Primary treatment is important because that’s where bacteria, protozoa and viruses are killed.

Additionally, the clean water will be treated with ultraviolet light before it is released. These treatment methods will improve the taste and odor of Norman’s drinking water — a primary concern for many residents.

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