The construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Coweta is one of a multitude of projects in the works.
Coweta is growing. They city has to keep up.
In city manager Roger Kolman’s words, “planning for growth areas and getting infrastructure in place as early as possible is pertinent. Otherwise, crews are inconveniencing people that have moved in certain areas if they start infrastructure late, thus interrupting the growth curve.”
Drive to Coweta and see for yourself. Houses and businesses are popping up left and right. The One For Coweta initiative, and all the projects affiliated with it, is focused around the city’s growth over the next 20 years.
As Kolman showed in December’s Coweta Connections video, the city’s current wastewater treatment plant treats three quarters of a million gallons of water a day. But as city engineers estimated, that amount of treated wastewater will not be sufficient if Coweta wants to stay on top of the growth curve.
Kolman, along with Coweta Public Works and “WBD Engineering” officials — are about a year into the design phase of a new wastewater treatment plant. It would use the existing wastewater infrastructure in place, but it will be able to treat an additional half a million gallons of wastewater a day.
There will be room to expand to another half a million gallons of treated wastewater a day beyond that, Kolman added.
“Basically, they will take the facility that’s out there and use all the same footprint,” Kolman explained to the Wagoner County American—Tribune. “It will almost be like a mechanical plant.”
One of the first steps to the upgraded wastewater treatment plant will consist of draining out an aeriation basin, clean out sediment that settled to the bottom, cement it in and add a mechanical apparatus. Then it can be filled back up, Kolman explained.
WBD Engineering are the primary engineers for the city of Coweta. They conducted a wastewater treatment study in March 2018, and are the masterminds behind the expansion project. Based on engineer estimates, the new wastewater treatment plant should give Coweta another 20 years of use.
“It’s all an engineering estimate based on estimated population growth,” Kolman said.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the population of Coweta was 9,642.
The construction phase has been halted due to supply chain issues, Kolman said. Once it begins, he’d expect it to take about a year before it’s fully complete and operational.
“That end of the water cycle is not very exciting to people,” Kolman said. “But it’s a very important part of what our Public Works team does. For the near term, it’s probably going to be the most regulated of what we do.”
That is because everything that goes into the wastewater treatment plant eventually goes into the Arkansas River. There are a large amount of EPA and DEQ regulations that go into wastewater treatment, Kolman added.
It’s why it’s important now, and in the wake of an expanded wastewater treatment plant, that residents’ stay cognizant of what they put down the toilet or in the sink. If it’s toxic or dangerous, it has a good shot of entering the wastewater treatment facility. Theoretically, it could also end up in the Arkansas River or downstream into someone else’s drinking water. It’s a lose-lose situation for all, and it could get awfully expensive.
“You’d be shocked what comes through the system — baseballs, golf balls, shirts. Remember disposable wipes can’t go down the toilet, either. Just because they say ‘disposable’ does not mean they are ‘flushable’.”
It could also back up a water pump. One pump, he explained, could cost upwards of $100,000. If the pump breaks from a backup, it’s very rarely an easy and inexpensive fix.
Coweta’s wastewater treatment plant is located off of OK-72, right before it crosses the Arkansas River in Coweta.
This is one of many stories to be published by the Wagoner County American-Tribune about growth in Coweta.