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Water Quality Division
The Water Quality Division develops and maintains Oklahoma's Water Quality Standards and routinely collects physical, chemical and biological data to support the document. The Division directs Oklahoma's Beneficial Use Monitoring Program (BUMP) to document beneficial use impairments, identify impairment sources (if possible), detect water quality trends, provide needed information for the Water Quality Standards and facilitate the prioritization of pollution control activities.
As part of its three-tiered Clean Lakes Program, the Division conducts water quality assessments to determine the relative health of state lakes and the problems impairing them, and implements diagnostic and feasibility studies which seek to restore the recreational benefits of public lakes throughout the state. Water Quality also participates with municipal governments and federal agencies to assess and control various water quality problems impacting Oklahoma waters.
Oklahoma's Water Quality Standards, maintained and updated at least every three years by staff in the Standards Section, serve to enhance the quality of state waters, protect their beneficial uses (assigned activities that a surface water may be reasonably used for), and aid in the prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.
Standards Section staff conduct research to support new and revised criteria considered during the Standards rules revision process or expansion of the document, such as development of groundwater quality standards.
Monitoring Section staff direct Oklahoma's Beneficial Use Monitoring Program. BUMP, created in 1998, is the state's first truly comprehensive water quality monitoring effort. Data provided by the program plays an essential role in the state's water quality management decision-making process by helping to identify waters experiencing impairments as well as the cause of declining water quality. The BUMP is also invaluable to the development and refinement of Oklahoma's Water Quality Standards. Beneficial uses, the backbone of the Water Quality Standards, are assigned to individual lakes, streams, and stream segments based upon the primary benefits derived from those waters by the public. Each year, staff publish a report that discloses detailed physical, chemical, and biological information from 155 lakes and streams collected at approximately 600 sites throughout Oklahoma.
Staff of the OWRB's Lakes and Special Studies Section seek to evaluate, restore and maintain the recreational benefits of Oklahoma's publicly owned lakes (primarily municipal and major water supply lakes). Funded through a combination of federal, state and local sources, this vital activity consists of two distinct steps: problem identification and restoration.
Data obtained through the OWRB's Beneficial Use Monitoring Program help staff determine the baseline water quality conditions, and subsequent health status, of Oklahoma's significant public lakes. In turn, staff assess the need for intensive investigations on impaired or impacted water bodies and recommend remedial measures, where required.
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Page last updated: August 18, 2014