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Groundwater recommended as alternative water source

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawton City Council had a special meeting on Tuesday night, and on the agenda was a presentation on using groundwater. The council asked the city's water department to come up with alternative water sources for the city 3 years ago. That's when the entire state of Oklahoma was going through a drought that depleted Lawton's lakes. That’s the main source of water for the city.

Garver Engineering, the firm hired by the city to do this research, found Lawton was sitting on a rarely used reservoir. After drilling a few test wells, they put together the results that would add 5 million gallons to the city's water supply and at a lower cost.

The drought was a situation the city never wants to be in again.

"During the drought, we lost a majority of our surface water due to evaporation,” Lawton’s Water and Wastewater Director AJ Jabbar said. “And then there was no rainfall to replenish."

Jabbar said having enough clean water for Lawton residents, drought or no drought, is what matters.

So groundwater is the final of five options Garver Engineering presented to City Council.

After drilling test holes at different locations around the city, five looked promising. The east side of town is where a Garver Vice President Michael Graves recommended the city focus on establishing groundwater wells and a treatment center for that water.

"The area where the Southeast Water Treatment Plant is could house the groundwater treatment plant facility. So it's basically within the same footprint of the southeast plant," Graves said.

So what's the cost?

The company said it's too far out in the planning stages to tell for sure, but they boiled it down and compared it to other alternatives they have presented to the city in the past. Groundwater will cost the city almost $2.50 per 1,000 gallons, compared to the $5 to $7 per 1,000 gallons for treating and reusing wastewater.

Graves said he commends the city of Lawton for continuing their search for alternative water sources.

"Well a couple of years ago during the grips of our drought they were down to a significantly low percentage of their overall water supply,” Graves said. “And they haven't forgot about that. Even though that was 4 or 5 years ago. They haven't forgot about that."

The details of the presentation have not been approved or denied by city council. It was just an update on the research that is being done. But if the council does want to continue to consider groundwater as an alternative source of water, they will have to vote on it.

Even then, most residents wouldn't see construction start on this project until at least 4 years from now.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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