Stormwater Phase II Planning
Amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1987 required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address stormwater runoff, after environmental studies indicating that contaminated stormwater is one of the primary detriments to water quality in lakes and streams. Polluted stormwater runoff is often discharged directly into local water bodies. When left uncontrolled, this water pollution can result in the destruction of fish, wildlife, and aquatic life habitats and can threaten public health due to contaminated food, drinking water supplies and recreational waterways.
General permits in 1990 led to regulations that have helped reduce discharges from major industrial facilities and large and medium city storm sewers over the past few years.
Stormwater Permit Issued to Small Systems
On February 8, 2005, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) issued the general permit for the discharge of stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Sewer Systems (MS4). The permit authorizes discharges of stormwater and certain non-stormwater discharges for systems located in urbanized areas, such as Central Oklahoma, and systems with a population of at least 10,000, but not exceeding 100,000.
ACOG has been working with staff from all of the Central Oklahoma communities that will be affected by the policy. Central Oklahoma communities affected by the permit, and needing to submit a Phase II Small MS4 application include:
- Del City
- Midwest City
- Nichols Hills
- Nicoma Park
- Oklahoma County
- The Village
- Tinker Air Force Base
- Warr Acres
DEQ granted waivers for the permit to Cleveland County, Forest Park, Guthrie, Logan County, Smith Village, Valley Brook and Woodlawn Park.
Affected communities should prepare to address the program in fiscal year 2006 budgets, and file a notice of intent by May 8, 2005.. DEQ can provide an example schedule of stormwater management elements for a five-year program.
Among the requirements that communities will have to fulfill with a stormwater management program are to list and define best management practices, define measurable goals for those practices and identify staff resources assigned to the program.
Phase II regulations require communities to develop a storm water pollution prevention program focusing on a "best management practices" approach that will begin implementation in May 2005. The program must integrate six minimum control measures, including:
- Public Education and Outreach,
- Public Participation/Involvement,
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination,
- Construction Site Runoff Control,
- Post-Construction Runoff Control,
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping.
There is a wide range of options to meet each of the measures, and not every community must administer each one on its own. For some of them, such as public education and outreach, a regional approach can fulfill the measure. Some communities may not have the personnel and/or financial resources to comply with each measure, so inter-local and regional cooperation may be necessary.
ACOG Water Resources staff have been monitoring the permit process, and are available for technical assistance to Central Oklahoma communities.
ACOG will also soon have authorization from EPA to implement a multi-media regional stormwater public education program. The regional approach of the program will assist communities that may not have the time or resources to implement an effective program of their own. The program is being offered free to affected ACOG communities.
Since the EPA's rules are not accompanied by requisite funding sources, communities affected by the program are faced with developing funds to enact some of the compliance measures. ACOG's Water Resources Division is proposing a regional approach to address the stormwater issue, and has presented preliminary information to city leaders in the region. ACOG plans to implement a public education and public involvement program that will include new brochures and media awareness. Benefits of a regional approach will save communities' money and help deliver a consistent message by promoting uniform ordinances.
The Environmental Protection Agency provides numerous public education materials that help promote good stormwater practices. The link below showcases what EPA has to offer on this subject.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has a stormwater Web page that includes links to urban maps, the notice of intent and other important information.
Link: ODEQ Stormwater Page.