Division of Environmental Resilience & Sustainability to promote “One Water” approach in Norman community

Michele Loudenback has been named to lead the City of Norman’s newest division, the Division of Environmental Resilience & Sustainability (DoERS), in efforts to increase efficiency and coordination while promoting a “One Water” approach in Norman.

DoERS will have direct management of the Industrial Pretreatment Program (including the Fats, Oils, and Grease Program), the Household Hazardous Waste Facility and accompanying Program, the Stormwater Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and Total Maximum Daily Load Monitoring and Compliance Programs (which include stormwater quality functions for construction and industrial facility sites), and the Cross Connection Control Program. Previously housed between the Utilities and Public Works Departments, now all programs will fall within the DoERS and under the Utilities Department, joining Water Reclamation, Water Treatment, Solid Waste, and Line Maintenance. The new division will also manage the development and implementation of sustainability initiatives focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, researching and transitioning to sustainable energy sources, increasing pollinator habitat, and encouraging implementation of low impact development.

The “One Water” approach encourages the management of all water – traditionally separated into categories like drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and greywater – as a single resource, an approach that will advance resiliency to droughts and floods while also reducing energy use and improving water quality.

“This restructure promotes a collaborative environment that will allow for new synergy in solving problems, enhancing communication, and sharing knowledge with our community,” Loudenback said.

Strategic consolidation will offer benefits to both internal and external parties, explained City Manager Darrel Pyle.

“With this move, state- and federally-regulated environmental programs at the local level will be managed within the same office, streamlining communication and tasks of business for those we serve,” Pyle said. “Ms. Loudenback brings a wealth of knowledge with her to this new position, having worked at the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality for 18 years before joining the Norman team. We look forward to the programs, projects and initiatives to come from this division.”