Fort forges ahead with reuse project

The first water reuse project in Oklahoma state is reported to be making headway at the US army’s post at Fort Sill.

Construction is underway on infrastructure to enable the fort to clean up wastewater effluent for use at the post according to Fort Sill’s Colonel Glenn Waters. The project will eventually replace drinking water currently bought from Lawton, Waters said.

The Journal Record has reported that Oklahoma Water Resources Board executive director JD Strong said other municipalities and rural water districts could follow Waters’ leadership in developing water reuse projects. “Colonel 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 received the permit in August, and contractor, American Water, is currently constructing pipelines and pumps. The Army post purchases drinking water at 8 Ml/d from Lawton. Fort Sill processes its own wastewater at about 6 Ml/d. When completed, the water reuse project will be able to clean up to 3.2 Ml/d.

Waters plans to use the cleaned-up wastewater to irrigate the post’s golf course, fill a wash pit that cleans tanks, and to soak building foundations to prevent cracks caused by dry ground movements. The first phase of the reuse project will cover one-third of the post, but Waters said he aims to 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 was secondary to the benefit from 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 required all military installations to reduce potable water use by 2% 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 programme will help us get there.”

Waters and Graves are on the Beaver Cache regional water planning committee. The southwest region’s water users are planning to reduce their dependence on fresh water, as a part of the Water for 2060 Act, passed in 2012. It requires each water basin to draw up plans to use no more water in 2060 than was using in 2012.