Local News

May 9, 2012

Amber receives REAP grant to help enlarge wastewater treatment capacity

A sewer district that serves the town of Amber received another grant Tuesday that will help pay for enlarging its wastewater treatment capacity.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board approved a $39,500 Rural Economic Action Plan grant for Grady County Rural Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Management District #2, announced J.D. Strong, executive director of the state agency.

 The REAP grant will be coupled with a $294,500 Community Development Block Grant and $4,645 in district funds, ledgers reflect. The $338,645 will be earmarked for capital improvements to the district's sewage treatment system.

Blueprints indicate planned improvements include construction of a new secondary treatment lagoon, construction of a new sewage lift station and rehabilitation of the existing lift station.

Grady County #2, which provides both water and sewer service to Amber, has been directed by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to upgrade its wastewater treatment system to prevent discharges of untreated sewage, records show.

Grady County #2 owns and operates a two-cell total-retention lagoon treatment system.

After heavy rains in June 2007 filled the pair of lagoons to nearly overflowing, district representatives released treated wastewater from the secondary lagoon onto adjoining property "to prevent damage to the dike around the lagoons," Myers Engineering of Oklahoma City related. Since the district does not have a discharge permit, the land application was not a permissible action and the DEQ cited the district for violating its sewage treatment permit.

 "Storage and water balance calculations show that an additional 1.15 million gallons of storage would be needed" to comply with Oklahoma Administrative Code regulations, Myers reported.

The new lagoon, to be constructed north of the existing lagoons, will encompass one-half acre in surface area and will be 6 feet deep, Myers Engineering said. The new secondary treatment cell will increase the district's total wastewater storage capacity by 25 percent, to 55.5 million gallons of wastewater, Myers said. That's equivalent to a 180-day storage volume for the district's 200 customers, Myers added.

The new lift station will transfer effluent from the existing secondary cell to the new lagoon via more than 1,000 linear feet of new sewer main, records indicate. New pumps will be installed in the existing lift station, which receives all of the wastewater from Amber and pumps it to the primary wastewater treatment lagoon. In addition, a backup generator will be installed to power the existing lift station in the event of an interruption in electric service.

Other improvements to the district's wastewater system have already been made, Myers Engineering noted.

Manholes in the wastewater collection system needed to be raised to prevent the inflow of storm water during heavy rains. The work was performed by district personnel "and the manhole rims are now above ground level," Myers wrote.

In a related matter, smoke testing showed that some cleanouts were not properly capped, "allowing a significant amount of inflow," Myers continued. Those cleanouts have since been repaired, thereby reducing the amount of inflow substantially.

 Joe Freeman, chief of the Water Resources Board’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the REAP grant will save Grady County RWS&SWMD#2 customers more than $71,000 in principal and interest payments by not having to borrow the money to effect the repairs.

The Water Board has awarded more than $50 million in REAP grants over the past 14 years, Freeman said. “We are grateful to state Sen. Ron Justice and state Reps. Leslie Osborn and Joe Dorman for their support of this program,” Strong added.

The OWRB was created in 1957 to manage, protect and improve Oklahoma’s water resources and plan for the state’s long-range water needs in a responsive, innovative and professional manner. Since 1983 the agency has funded more than $2.6 billion in loans and grants to improve and enhance the water and wastewater infrastructure needs of communities across Oklahoma. For more information, visit


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