Produced by Tom Venturo
The Norman wastewater system is owned, maintained and operated by the city of Norman, Oklahoma, and in November of 2013, the Department of Environmental Quality mandated that the treatment facility be upgraded.
This $60 million project, consisting of an expansion to allow for increased water flow, an ultra violet disinfecting plant and overall rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure, was bid out to six different pre-qualified contractors and after review and consideration of all bids, the project was awarded to Archer Western Construction (a subsidiary of the Walsh Group).
David Nine, Archer Western Project Manager for the Norman Water Reclamation Facility Project, explains that Archer Western Construction had been doing smaller projects in Oklahoma for about five years and when the company caught wind of this project in 2013 while it was in its early design stages, they knew this could be their chance to launch their operations and establish themselves in Oklahoma. After putting together a winning strategy and providing their bid, the company was awarded the project in April 2014.
“It worked out great; it’s very seldom do you identify the project a year out, pursue it, chase it, win and get to go build it,” states Nine.
About the Project
The Norman Water Reclamation Facility expansion is the largest wastewater treatment plant expansion ever awarded in the state of Oklahoma and the project is being funded by the Oklahoma Water Resource Board (OWRB), who granted the city of Norman a $50 million construction loan.
Archer Western Construction will be working to expand the treatment capacity from 16 mgd to 32 mgd, adding two new clarifiers, 3 new activated sludge aeration basin, new sludge pump station and dewatering facility, new screenings facility and odor control. Prior to beginning that work, Nine explains that Archer Western Construction is first working to complete another component of the project, the UV disinfecting plant.
The UV Facility includes the UV basin, UV building and Post Aeration Basin, 3000 lf of 66” pipeline and outfall structure, all of which must in operation by the early completion milestone of November 14, 2015.
Currently the treatment facility has primary and secondary treatment but no disinfection, so this is an additional treatment step which will allow the city to re-use that water in the future. In addition, $10 million is going towards odor control throughout the entire plant. The UV plant and odor control are major components to the project and are extremely beneficial to the city of Norman.
Nine states, “Once the UV Facility is completed, a nearby composting facility will start using the reclaimed water for their composting operations so the city will be able to re-use this water.”
Archer Western Construction will build about 75% of the project itself, only sub-contracting about 25% of the job. The treatment plant is currently in phase 2 out of 3 and is expected to be completed on time in November, 2016.
Looking forward, the treatment plant is expected to pump the re-used water to Lake Thunderbird where Norman gets its drinking water.
The Norman Water Reclamation Facility serves the city of Norman, a population of about 100,000 people, and the community as a whole has been extremely supportive of the project.
“This is unique project because the citizens in the city of Norman voted 78% in favor of this expansion so the whole community is really behind the project,” Nine says.
On November 5, 2014 the mayor and city council were on site at the project for a publicized ribbon cutting event to launch the project and show their support. Also, since the University of Oklahoma is in Norman, Nine explains that Archer Western Construction has even hired three college graduates to work as engineers for the project.
Overall the project will be a great resource for the community and an environmental step towards sustainability.