Reaching out to Oklahoma Tribes: Center to Host Wastewater and Septic System Training Seminars

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The Rose State College Oklahoma Environmental Training Center and the Environmental Protection Agency will host of series of wastewater and septic system training seminars for tribal members, the center's environmental coordinator said this week.

Bill Clark said Rose State would host its first seminar about on- site wastewater treatment Oct. 23 and 24. A second training session is scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6 at Cameron University in Lawton. A third session is planned for April 2013 at Tulsa Community College, but the date hasn't been determined yet.

Clark said the seminars were targeted to the state's 39 federally recognized Native American tribes.

"We're working with Indian Health Services, tribal leaders and even the big casinos," he said.

Clark said the seminars would focus on the treatment of household wastewater and the use of advanced septic systems.

"The new advanced systems can treat wastewater well enough so that it can be used to water your lawn," he said.

With new legislation allowing Oklahomans to use up to 250 gallons of gray water (used household water that isn't sewage), the training sessions could supplement the state's goal of increased water recycling. In 2012 the Oklahoma Legislature passed a measure that set a goal of maintaining the state's present water usage rate through 2060.

Clark said the program was funded by a $67,000 grant from the EPA.

Tribal leaders said the seminars offered them the chance to update their training and explore new wastewater recycling technologies.

"We probably put in 50 to 60 septic systems per year," said Kurtis Silas, director of environmental health for the Citizen Potawatomie Nation. …