Oklahoma passes potable water-reuse implementation bill

The governor of the US state of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, on 28 May 2014 signed Senate Bill 1187 making it possible for water agencies to implement potable water reuse projects.

Under the new law, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can issue permits for point-source discharges into sensitive public and private water supplies for the purpose of developing and implementing a water-reuse project.

Such discharges will need to comply with rules set by the state’s Environmental Quality Board and Water Resources Board. The bill comes into force immediately.

Senator Rob Standridge, author of the bill, said his proposal established state policy to facilitate reuse efforts and specifies permitting requirements for projects.

”Improving our water infrastructure is a critical component of our efforts to support economic development and quality of life,” said Standridge. “To broaden our supply of safe, local water, municipalities and water districts need to be able to take advantage of proven technologies for conservation and reuse. This legislation will facilitate projects that can help us secure our water needs well into the future.”

Standridge noted that for growing municipalities, including his hometown of Norman, reuse could be a practical, cost-effective alternative to the construction of new pipelines or reservoirs.

The City of Norman (pop 116,000) is looking at treating wastewater to reuse standards and releasing it into Thunderbird Reservoir, its main source of supply, qualifying it as a direct potable reuse project.