Stormwater Information

The concern for storm water runoff is increasingly becoming more serious as Oklahoma County grows in population. Not considered a farming community, Oklahoma County is progressively being urbanized. The conversion of land from rural to developed generates large volumes of storm water runoff. Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality. These storm systems do not receive any treatment before entering the waters of our streams and lakes. Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people. This in turn affects the quality of our drinking water and each resident of Oklahoma County.

Oklahoma County is required by law to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II permit program. This program requires that all regulated communities, including Oklahoma County, prepare stormwater management plans to control runoff of stormwater from both point and non-point pollution sources.

Oklahoma County’s stormwater program was established in 2006 and we are responsible for the development and implementation of Oklahoma County’s stormwater plan.

The purpose of the stormwater program is to promote public health, safety & welfare by maintaining and improving the quality of receiving waters for unincorporated Oklahoma County. A program, developed to attend to the needs of unincorporated Oklahoma County and its citizens, has been in development since 2006 and is always being modified to meet federal and state regulations. In order to explain the general direction of the program and its goals, we have included a list of 6 specific minimum control measures and basic descriptions for each:

1. Public Education and Outreach program:
Description – A public education program designed to distribute educational materials to inform the public about the impacts of stormwater discharges and the preventive measures that they can take to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.

2. Public Participation and Involvement:
Description – Assists in the development of stormwater management program that allows the public to participate in implementing and reviewing our stormwater management program.

3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination:
Description – Our goal is to detect and eliminate any discharges which negatively impact the streams, creeks, and water bodies in unincorporated Oklahoma County.

4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control:
Description – Oklahoma County requires permits for development and construction activity that result in land disturbance. These permits require Erosion and Sediment Control BMPs to be installed and maintained and pollution prevention practices to be performed throughout the construction process.

5. Post-Construction Management in New Development and Redevelopment:
Description – Our program for Post-Construction Management was implemented to maintain and clean existing streams and drainage ways within unincorporated Oklahoma County. This program is enforced by using a variety of structural and nonstructural BMPs that currently exist and creating new BMPs to allow for the prevention and reduction of pollution in the county’s storm drainage system.

6. Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping:
Description – With the use of our structural and nonstructural BMP’s currently in place, this allows for eventual reduction and prevention of polluted runoff from conveyances, county operations, and properties owned or maintained by Oklahoma County.

Oklahoma County’s program was audited by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in February of 2010. ODEQ stated that Oklahoma County is in substantial compliance with the permit, and no deficiencies were identified. ODEQ did make recommendations and Oklahoma County has been in the process of incorporating those recommendations and Oklahoma County is waiting for ODEQ to issue the new OKR04 Phase II permit. Once the new permit is issued by the State, Oklahoma County will have to reevaluate its program and make changes to come into compliance with the new OKR04 permit.

Related Publications
Household Hazardous Waste (Recycling facts and information)
After the Storm (Stormwater runoff brochure)
Solution to Pollution (Household habits brochure)