- Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Fort Sill is making headway on the first water reuse project in the state.

Col. Glenn Waters said construction is underway on infrastructure that will allow the Army post to clean up wastewater effluent and use it on the post. The project helps Fort Sill save water and money, because it will eventually purchase less drinking water from Lawton, Waters said.

The Journal Record (https://bit.ly/1YV7EsY ) reports that Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director J.D. Strong said other municipalities and rural water districts can follow Waters’ leadership in developing water reuse projects.

“Col. Waters is recognizing one of the best ways to drought-proof his installation. We all need to look at ways to decrease consumption and reuse and recycle every drop,” Strong said.

Waters discussed the project at the Governor’s Annual Water Conference, held at the John Q. Hammons Conference Center at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Norman.

He received the permit in August, and contractor American Water is already constructing pipelines and pumps. The Army post purchases 2 million gallons of drinking water per day from Lawton. Fort Sill processes its own wastewater, about 1.5 million gallons per day. When completed, the water reuse project will be able to clean up to 800,000 gallons per day.

Waters plans to use that cleaned-up resource to water the post’s golf course, fill a wash pit that cleans mud off tanks, and apply to building foundations to prevent cracks that occur when the dry ground moves. The first phase of the reuse project will cover one-third of the post, but he said he aims to eventually expand the infrastructure to cover the entire facility.

American Water Utility Manager Ronnie Graves said the monetary savings Fort Sill will get from the project is an added benefit compared to the value of water conservation.

“We’re really trying to stop the misuse of drinking water. We’re putting this effluent to work in places that don’t require potable water,” Graves said.

Waters said his mandate came from the federal government. An executive order issued in 2015 requires all military installations to reduce potable water use by 2 percent a year for the next decade.

“We are the largest potable water user in the region, and we don’t want to stay that way,” Waters said. “This program will help us get there.”

Waters and Graves are on the Beaver Cache regional water planning committee. The southwest region’s water users are collaborating on a plan that will help the area reduce dependence on fresh water, as a part of the Water for 2060 Act, passed in 2012. The law requires leaders from each water basin to create a road map to use no more water in 2060 than was used in 2012.


Information from: The Journal Record, https://www.journalrecord.com

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