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April 17, 2014

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

NORMAN — 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. “It’s a very big deal, and we’re very excited that OWRB has approved the financing.”

The OWRB approved the low-interest Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan during the panel’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

On Nov. 12, Norman voters approved a sewer rate increase to help pay for a $63 million upgrade of the city’s southside wastewater treatment plant. The proposal passed by nearly 76 percent.

“It was great,” Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said. “We were under the gun having a consent order, and I guess the voters understood that. It will be good for the environment and will be good for reuse in the future.”

A consent order by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality was driving the project. The upgrade will increase capacity from 12 million gallons a day to 17 million gallons a day.

“There are three pieces to this project,” Komiske said. “One is we’re under a consent order from the DEQ. We will also increase capacity, and we’ll replace old and obsolete equipment.”

The added capacity will serve current customers and future growth already approved by the city council.

“Lift Station D is in place to take the waste from the northeast and bring it to our wastewater plant,” Komiske said. “This will be full buildout for the south plant. In the future, the next piece will be a North Water Reclamation Plant.”

How soon the north plant is needed will depend on how fast the community grows. Komiske believes the added capacity at the south plant will serve the community for another 20-plus years.

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