May 14, 2020

Oklahoma City Updates Storm Water Master Plan

Stillwater, Oklahoma's Storm Water Master Plan will improve drainage and address water quality concerns

storm water management

The City of Stillwater, Oklahoma is in the process of updating its storm water master plan.

The Storm Water Master Plan intends to help make development decisions, improve drainage and address water quality concerns, according to the Stillwater News Press.

The Storm Water Master Plan includes an analysis of the watershed, making it easier for developers to perform drainage studies and easier for city staff to evaluate the impact of those developments.

Storm water drainage has been an ongoing concern in the city, becoming a public priority over the last few years as heavier rains began to cause widespread flooding.

According to Zack Henson, storm water program manager and floodplain administrator for Stillwater, the water sent from Stillwater’s streets and neighborhoods makes its way to the Cimarron River. The city’s streets serve as part of its storm water drainage system, reported the city. This system was built to handle 25-year floods, however, added Henson. 

Updating the Storm Water Master Plan would mean an increase in hard or impervious surfaces like streets, driveways, parking lots and roofs. The city has budgeted $500,000 in the current fiscal year to update its Storm Water Master Plan.

City engineers are pushing for: new drainage pipes, detention ponds and improved drainage, repairs to the storm sewers, equipment upgrades and neighborhood drainage projects, according to Stillwater News Press.

Having a storm water management plan is a requirement from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

The plan must also include control measures to minimize storm water pollution citywide by: addressing public education, public involvement, detecting and eliminating the illegal discharge of pollutants, controlling construction site runoff, managing runoff post-construction and establishing pollution prevention measures.

Storm water pollution affects local lakes, streams and watersheds. The state is required to keep a list of impaired water, based on water quality.

“In general, water quality has gone down in our city,” Henson said.

The Storm Water Master Plan is under development by Meshek Engineering, with cooperation from Oklahoma State University graduate students. The plan will address the storm water rate structure by looking at expected levels of service and how to distribute the cost equitably, mapping and evaluating the condition of open drainage channels. The plan will implement a water quality monitoring program to generate more consistent data as well, according to the Stillwater News Press.

Read more about storm water management plans: