Olney Takes Final Step Before Water Reuse Construction Phase

Olney Takes Final Step Before Water Reuse Construction Phase

The $2.4 million water reuse project in Olney is one step closer to the construction phase. City Councilors held one final public hearing on the pipeline Wednesday.

The information from that meeting, the environmental review, will now be sent to the state for one final review. It's a process that could take six to eight weeks, according to city officials.

Although many Texoma towns are slowly coming out of the drought, Olney is still in Stage Four drought restrictions, and city leaders say the reuse system is necessary to battle the drought.

"We just have a small watershed for our lakes, said Danny Parker, Olney City Manager. "It takes the rain in the right places to have an impact. And the rain yesterday evening and last night was very good for us. We came up three feet overnight, so we're making strides."

Water in Lake Olney is just six inches from reaching the spillway. Though the city's reservoirs, Lakes Olney and Cooper, have risen nine feet in just a few weeks the two lakes have not yet reached capacity. That's why city officials say they don't want to have to rely on rain alone.

"It just makes sense," said Parker. "The water leaving the wastewater treatment plant is good water, and I just think it makes sense to take it and reuse it."

Parker is hopeful the new pipeline will pump more than 700,000 gallons of water daily. But it will come at a price to city residents.

"We have to be good stewards, and try to reuse and conserve," said Parker.  "It costs money to do those things."

Consumers will be charged an extra $5.63 each month. Officials said that number is based on the worst case scenario and could decrease as interest rate discussions continue.

"Our citizens haven't given us a lot of grief over this," said Parker. "I think they understand the situation and they've been through these droughts before, so they kind of know what's going on."

The new pipeline will span 6.1 miles. It will stretch from the Olney Wastewater Treatment Plant to Lake Olney.

The construction bidding process will begin once state officials approve the review. City officials expect to break ground on the project this summer.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6