$44 million improvements started at OKC Lake Hefner Water Treatment plant

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Oklahoma City started a $44 million improvement project this week for its Hefner Water Treatment plant.

The project is aimed at modernizing the plant’s ozone disinfection system and increasing its treatment capacity. The ozone upgrade is one of multiple infrastructure improvement projects the OKC Utilities Department is undertaking to improve resiliency and help meet future demand capacity.

The project will have no impact on the safety of the water, although some residents may temporarily notice a slight difference in the water’s taste or odor.

Work on the project will involve shutting down the current ozone disinfection system for five weeks at a time to replace portions of the existing system. The first shutdown will take place this winter followed by another shutdown projected for December 2024.

During shutdowns, plant operators will switch to a chlorine-based disinfection process similar to the one used at the Draper WTP where ozone is not used. Both types of disinfection meet all regulatory guidelines as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ).

Replacement of the ozone system at the Hefner WTP is necessary as the current system is approaching the end of its service life.

Currently, the plant is rated to treat 75 million gallons of water per day (MGD). With the upgrade, the plant will increase its rated treatment capacity to 100 MGD. This will be especially beneficial in the high-demand summer months when the plant nears its current rated capacity.

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The ozone system replacement project is scheduled for completion in 2025. This, plus other projects underway by the department, are all part of a $1.79 billion capital improvement initiative taken on by the utility over the next five years.

“Residents and businesses throughout Central Oklahoma depend upon us for an ongoing supply of clean, safe drinking water,” said Utilities Director Chris Browning. “These infrastructure investments are a critical part of our operational objectives in order to improve system resiliency and ensure we can continue delivering reliable drinking water for generations to come.”

Source: press release