11/20/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2023 11:56
The Broken Arrow Municipal Authority (BAMA) is taking the first steps to make the switch to the Grand River as the city's chief water source, after the trustees unanimously authorized city staff to begin the process to secure a secondary water source.
As Broken Arrow continues to grow, so will the need for additional natural resources such as water coupled with infrastructure improvements.
Looking to the future, HDR, Inc., was hired in 2022 to study how to bring more water to Broken Arrow.
HDR recently completed the "Grand River Water Supply Study," and BAMA authorized and approved its findings on Nov. 7. (Watch the presentation from the special meeting here).
Representatives from HDR, Inc. presented the findings from the study that evaluated various options for bringing additional water to the city.
"As a part of the study, we looked at forecasting [population] projections to the year 2070," said HDR, Inc. Senior Professional Associate Kristi Shaw, P.E.
Currently, the Verdigris River Water Treatment Plant can treat up to 30 million gallons per day (MGD). In addition to the Verdigris River, the city can tie into the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority waterlines in two locations as necessary to add to the water supply.
"We can get treated water from Tulsa as a supplement, but a supplement is all it is intended to be," said Kenneth Schwab Assistant City Manager of Operations.
HDR estimated the city would require 34 MGD during the peak days of summer by 2040 and up to 46 MGD by 2070.
This study updates and builds upon the "Long-Term Water Supply Plan" provided by HDR in 2015.
It also explores coordination options with other agencies, such as the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), the Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority (OOWA), and the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA).
HDR engineers investigated the potential of utilizing a city-owned 36-inch waterline that stretches 21.3 miles from OOWA in Mayes County to the city's Verdigris River Water Treatment Plant east of Broken Arrow. Built in 1982, the waterline hasn't been used since the water treatment plant came online in 2014.
According to the pipeline assessment, water sampling, and agency discussions, there is a path forward to rehabilitating the OOWA waterline and using it to bring raw water from the Grand River to Broken Arrow.
The study details various options for providing the city with another water source.
HDR and city staff recommended a combination approach with a gravity supply design to utilize the existing waterline with an eventual pump station to bring Grand River water from OOWA. A secondary water source will help create resiliency in the water system, add flexibility to plant operations throughout the year, and provide adequate water supply for future growth in the city.
"Right now, we rely on one water source, the Verdigris River," Schwab said.
He outlined potential challenges for the city's current water supply, including water taste and smell concerns that Broken Arrow customers have experienced over the years.
"We have had a lot of algae blooms that impact taste and odor," Schwab said. "It's not a fact of if you're going to have them, it's when."
HDR's recommended course of action includes six phases and is estimated to cost between $165 million to $188 million to complete. BAMA adopting this plan allows staff to proceed with the project's first phase.
The next steps include securing a memorandum of understanding with OOWA to purchase 25 MGD, establishing a purchase rate, and an infrastructure use agreement.
Schwab says it's feasible for the city to have the new water source producing 12.6 MGD within four to six years.
"12.3 million gallons daily is our average daily use," Schwab said. "So, we could get water almost exclusively from OOWA except during the peak summer months where we would offset with water from the Verdigris River, giving the city more flexibility."
HDR also studied raw water sampling and treatability of the Grand River and the Verdigris River.
"Overall, Verdigris River water is slightly more challenging to treat, but neither source has red flags from a public health perspective," according to the study.