Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Norman Knows It Needs To Increase Wastewater Rates, But How?

Norman Utility Director Ken Komiske says the city needs more than $60 million for improvements to its wastewater treatment plant. If the problems at the treatment plant aren’t addressed, Norman faces stiff fines of up to $10,000 per day to state Department of Environmental Quality.

The Oklahoman’s Jane Glenn Cannon reports the city council wants to put a wastewater rate hike on the ballot this November, but members are having trouble agreeing on exactly how to structure that increase:

Some council members say an increase to the base rate of $3.90 a month would hit the smallest users the hardest. They favor an increase in the “usage rate,” or the amount charged for every 1,000 gallons of water used.

Council members Stephen Tyler Holman, Greg Heiple, Chad Williams and Robert Castleberry were among those who favored raising both the base rate and the usage rate to ensure an adequate revenue stream.

Komiske explained the issues that need to be addressed at the plant in The Norman Transcript on Aug. 11:

“We have to do disinfection that we don’t do now,” Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.

Additionally, the amount of dissolved oxygen in the discharge must be increased.

“That’s to allow more air in the water for the aquatic life downstream,” Komiske said.

The project also will replace aging equipment and expand treatment capacity by 5 million gallons per day to meet the increasing needs created by population growth and development.

Norman hasn’t increased wastewater rates since 1996.


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