- The City of Lawton focuses on water & sewer line improvements with plan for the future
The City of Lawton focuses on water & sewer line improvements with plan for the future
Published March 29, 2023
Caitlin Gatlin | Communications & Marketing Manager
During Tuesday’s Lawton City Council Meeting, council members authorized staff to move forward with water & sewer line improvements.
Public Utilities Director, Rusty Whisenhunt educated the Council on the current condition of the water & wastewater systems, explaining most lines that run throughout the City are approaching 50 to 100 years old.
Aging pipes, coupled with corrosive soil conditions lead to a tremendous number of water main breaks throughout Lawton. In just one map section, south of Rogers Lane, east of Sheridan Road, north of Cache Road, and west of Fort Sill Boulevard, Water Distribution crews have repaired 135 water main breaks since 2019.
Similarly, Wastewater Collection is working to keep up with failing sewer line infrastructure. The City of Lawton has 435 miles of sewer main. Over the last 20 years, crews have replaced over 35% of that, but there is still another 255 miles of concrete lines that need to be replaced.
Whisenhunt brought forth a comprehensive plan to address the water & sewer line issues. The City would spend $8 million to $16 million per year over the next seven to 10 years for water main improvements. The same amount over the same time would be invested in the City’s sewer line infrastructure as well.
Funding would come from the ½ cent generated from the 2019 Propel CIP. This would not increase taxes for citizens. The City of Lawton’s Finance Department estimates that would generate approximately $218 million over 30 years. The City would borrow a total 80 million from state revolving funds over multiple loans, with the opportunity to receive $1 million in debt forgiveness each year.
The Public Utilities Department will now send out requests for design proposals from engineering firms. However, these projects could get underway as soon as July, with the designs already having been completed in house and ready to construct.
Work will begin in the areas that need the most attention, to include north of Gore Boulevard, east of 52nd Street, west of Fort Sill Boulevard and south of Rogers Lane. By replacing the lines that experience the most leaks within the City, we expect to drastically cut the number of breaks, giving crews more time to do routine maintenance instead of emergency repairs.