Submitted By RICHARD SMITH
INCOG Stormwater Consultant
The City of Bixby and other statewide entities are working hard to help protect the valuable water resources in Oklahoma.
Across the nation, hundreds of cities and counties have been diligently working under a unique discharge permit program to protect the water quality of local streams and lakes from a variety of pollutants carried in stormwater runoff.
How can rain cause pollution? While rain water itself isn’t a pollutant, rainfall runoff in urban areas carries with it loose material and chemicals that can flow to the stormwater collection system and ultimately get discharged directly into local rivers and streams without treatment. Common pollutants in stormwater runoff include trash, solvents, petroleum products, heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria and sediment.
In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency () issued final regulations to protect streams and lakes from stormwater pollution. These “phase II” stormwater rules began a long trek for many cities and counties in Oklahoma and across the U.S. as discharge permits were finalized and local phase II stormwater programs began to be implemented.
The City of Bixby, along with 39 other cities, 7 counties and 4 non-municipal entities in Oklahoma are now implementing stormwater pollution reduction programs under a general permit from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality ().
About 15 years ago, the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) formed a regional work group of stormwater permittees. This coalition is now called the Green Country Stormwater Alliance () and is dedicated to providing technical resources for its members and to enhance collaboration with other permittees.
’s permit requires that each city implement a variety of pollution-reducing best management practices that address public education and participation, elimination of illicit discharges, and reducing pollution from construction and post-construction sites and city-owned facilities.