City Council OKs waste water treatment plan contract amendment

The City Council approved several agenda items and heard presentations during a meeting held Tuesday at City Hall.

The council voted 5-0 to approve an amendment to a service contract with Tetra Tech to update the City’s waste water treatment plan, including a feasibility study for water reuse in Bartlesville.

Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen said a facility plan of the Chickasaw Waste Water Treatment Plant was conducted in 2010, which included the examination of two options for the city’s future waste water treatment needs. The options were to either expand the existing plant or build a new facility south of town. Lauritsen said property was purchased south of Bartlesville to facilitate a new plant, but the enactment of a new law in 2012 prompted another look at the plan.

“The state enacted the Water for 2060 law, which instructed the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to develop regulations and encourage water resuse,” Lauritsen said. “That was significant in the sense that our waste water treatment plant sits roughly a quarter of a mile, as a crow flies, from our raw water intake structure in Johnstone Park.”

Lauritsen said the City Council approved a contract with Tetra Tech in 2016 to re-evaluate the situation, this time looking at the water resuse component. The City also received $150,000 in grant funds from the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart Program to study the feasibility of water reuse.

“In order to move forward with the feasibility study, we need to approve an amendment (to the contract) with Tetra Tech,” he said.

Lauritsen said one of the components of the study is to conduct a waste load allocation analysis, which will begin immediately. The analysis includes taking samples from the Caney River during different seasons and flow conditions to determine river water quality characteristics, which will be utilized in a computer model to predict how much waste the river can receive.

Tetra Tech representatives also presented information from the 2010 study showing updated estimated costs for both options — $49.4 million to expand the existing facility and $65 million to build a new waste water treatment plant. Vice Mayor John Kane, who served on the Sewer System Oversight Committee, said the committee favors expansion of the existing facility, assuming water reuse can be implemented.

The waste water treatment improvements will ultimately be funded with revenues derived from water rate increases implemented last year. Staggered over a five-year plan, the increases will occur for the next three years.