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Oklahoma City receives more than $50 million for wastewater projects

The money will fund improvements at the North Canadian Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Oklahoma City Utilities Department
The money will fund improvements at the North Canadian Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust will receive a more than $50 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for wastewater infrastructure improvements.

Some of that money will pay for improvements at the Deer Creek and North Canadian Wastewater Treatment Plants. Deputy Director of OKC Utilities Engineering Will Huggins said these projects will help the city avoid problems as the city grows and its wastewater infrastructure ages.

“For the customer, the goal is they don't see any kind of impact,” Huggins said. “And then long term they don't see an impact because we've made our system more resilient, more reliable.”

The city is also taking some houses in an older subdivision in the Lake Overholser Watershed off septic systems and hooking them up to the city sewer.

Retiring older septic systems can safeguard watersheds from potential pollution.

Huggins said the city can’t normally pay for private improvements like residential sewer hookups. But this is an OWRB-funded pilot program to target non-point source pollution using federal money, so there’s no cost to the city’s ratepayers.

“We're going to be able to make an improvement in the community that we normally wouldn't be able to make, just due to the legal set up that is the Trust,” Huggins said. “So it's kind of neat that we can team with OWRB on this project.”

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Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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