A pilot study to test the water reuse portion of the City’s waste water treatment plant expansion is underway, Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen said this week.
“Essentially, this study is to ensure that we are meeting the requirements set forth by Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality regulations,” Lauritsen said.
In conjunction with the study and the planned expansion of the waste water treatment plant, the City Council voted Monday to approve service contracts for monitoring and testing for CECs, or Constituents of Emerging Concern.
CECs are a group of synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals that are not currently regulated under the Clean Water Act or Safe Drinking Water Act., Lauritsen said.
“These CECs include prescription and nonprescription drugs, home care products, antibiotics, industrial and household products, hormones, endocrine disrupters and engineered nanomaterials,” he said. “They would also include the PFASs, or the so-called ‘forever chemicals’ that we have discussed recently.”
Lauritsen said it is important to note the study does not mean the water reuse system will be in use for water customers.
“We are still years out from meeting all of the regulatory steps that are required to operate the City’s water reuse program for potable use. This is simply another step in that process,” he said.
Water reuse provides additional treatment before water is pumped and discharged into the Caney River upstream of the raw water intake in Johnstone Park. Once the system has cleared regulatory hurdles and is actually in use, this treated water will be used to supplement the water within the river in the event of a water crisis.
“Water reuse would only be implemented in the case of emergency, such as Stage 4 drought conditions,” Lauritsen said.
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