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    City of Tulsa / County of Tulsa

    Tulsa Stormwater Laws and Regulations

    The city and county of Tulsa's regulations are compliant with the Oklahoma Storm Water Program and state regulation Oklahoma Administrative Code 252:606-1-3(b)(3). The county has a Phase II MS4 permit.

    Excerpt- Tulsa County Stormwater Management Program, 2017

    BMP Strategy:

    Tulsa County has developed the following strategy for addressing post-construction control of runoff:

    • Attempt to maintain pre-development runoff conditions;
    • Ensure that controls are in place that will prevent or minimize water quality impacts;
    • Define pre-development not as conditions that existed before any manmade disturbance, but rather the condition of development that exists just prior to commencing the present development activities;
    • Develop and implement structural and/or non-structural BMPs appropriate for the MS4 community;
    • Implement BMPs that are appropriate for the local site conditions and selected to minimize water quality impacts;
    • Review local codes and ordinances and identify barriers to Low Impact Development (LID), and remove those barriers that are incompatible with local community standards;
    • Develop and Implement a program that ensures adequate long-term operation and maintenance of the BMPs;
    • Develop and implement an education program for developers and the general public about the benefits of LID; and
    • Encourage and provide incentives for implementation of LID practices by private developers before and during the building permit application and pre-design phases of projects. Additional details of the Post-Construction BMP Strategy are presented below.

    Ordinance OKR04 Part IV.C.5.a(2) requires the MS4 to develop a Post-Construction ordinance to control pollutants in runoff from the final project once construction has been completed. Tulsa County cannot adopt ordinances, so a code will be adopted. Tulsa County will adopt a Post-Construction code which will be assessed and updated in the future as needed. Local code adoption and updating will involve:

    • An initial code development and update action will be taken during the first year of OKR04 authorization.
    • The initial process will compare model construction codes to existing County codes and drafting modifications that will be needed to local codes in the near future;
    • Inspection and administrative staffing needs will be assessed, and additional resources will be sought, if needed, to ensure that the County will be able to implement all provisions in the codes;
    • Local construction codes will be updated as needed;
    • Code effectiveness will be assessed annually, and changes made when necessary.

    11.E.4 BMP Long-Term Operation and Maintenance (O&M)

    OKR04 Part IV.C.5.a(4) requires the MS4 to, "ensure adequate Jong-term operation and maintenance of BMPs that are installed during and left in place after the completion of a construction project, including inspections of each BMP". ODEQ considers that this provision shall apply to both privately owned and public facilities, and that the provision applies to all types of flood control projects, including detention basins, not just to LID-type projects. ODEQ also considers that the inspections should be conducted as visual observations of each facility's condition and adequacy of maintenance. Characteristics of the inspections are presented below.

    O&M Inspection and Enforcement Program: Tulsa County will comply with this permit requirement by taking the following actions:

    a. Summarize all limitations and exclusions under existing codes and ordinances pertaining to entry on private property by the MS4. This will include the following:

    1. Research MS4 codes and ordinances and identify all rights and obligations of private owners to maintain the BMPs that will be included in this permit requirement.
    2. Compile a list of actions the MS4 can take under existing MS4 codes and ordinances to enforce O&M of privately owned BMPs.
    3. Determine the MS4's authority under existing codes and ordinances regarding the rights of entry to perform inspections of privately owned BMPs. This will include delineating any MS4 rights-of-way and easements that may apply to the private structure.

    b. Compile a list of all LID and flood control structures within the MS4 that are to be assessed.

    c. Research basic data and information about each structure, such as:

    1. Ownership of property and responsible party for maintenance.
    2. Type of structure.
    3. Purpose of structure and any associated land uses served by the structure (e.g., subdivision or commercial center).
    4. Watershed in which structure is located.
    5. Age and present estimated condition of structure.

    d. Prepare inspection schedules based upon priority of importance for protecting water quality.

    e. Conduct visual inspections of each structure according to priority schedule; including:

    1. Mowing and weeding;
    2. Sediment buildup and erosion;
    3. Fencing, pathways, signage, public safety;
    4. Evidence of vandalism;
    5. Structural integrity;
    6. Vegetation health, ground cover, rock, concrete surfaces;
    7. Inlet and Outlet damage, blockage, condition;
    8. Debris, tree limbs, trash buildup;
    9. Function of pervious surfaces.

    f. MS4-0wned Structures: Schedule and acquire resources and funding for making any needed repairs or upgrades.

    g. Privately-owned Structures: Within the authority granted by local codes and ordinances, negotiate with the private responsible party on the types of maintenance and upgrades that the MS4 has determined are needed, and take any enforcement actions allowable under local codes and ordinances for failure of the responsible party to perform the required tasks.

    Excerpt- Tulsa City Stormwater Management and Hazard Mitigation Program

    The City of Tulsa makes the following findings of fact:

    • Because of its physical terrain and geographical location, the City is particularly subject to damage from stormwaters which, from time to time, overflow from existing watercourses and drainage facilities;
    • The presently existing stormwater drainage facilities of the City require continuous operation, maintenance, renewal and replacement;
    • A comprehensive approach to managing stormwater runoff is required to address existing and future needs;
    • Previous regulations addressing drainage requirements for new land development must be replaced by a comprehensive approach; and
    • Natural and manmade hazards exist and present a threat to the City.

    It is the purpose of this chapter to promote public health, safety and welfare by providing for operating, constructing, equipping, maintaining, acquiring and owning within the City a stormwater drainage system and hazard mitigation program. The establishment of a stormwater drainage system and hazard mitigation program will:

    • Minimize flood and storm losses and inconveniences from uncontrolled stormwater run-off in the City;
    • Assure that the movement of emergency vehicles is not prohibited nor inhibited during storm or flood periods;
    • Preserve the City's watercourses, improve and preserve purity of water, minimize water quality degradation and otherwise facilitate urban water resource management techniques, including both the reduction of pollution and the enhancement of the urban environment; and
    • Mitigate other natural and manmade hazards.


    Section 300. - Purpose.
    To protect the general health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City of Tulsa from the hazards and danger of stormwater run-off, the City shall:

    • Regulate the methods for handling and disposing of stormwater run-off in the watersheds of the jurisdictional area of the City and further regulate the design, construction and maintenance of the stormwater drainage system;
    • Regulate the development, excavation, grading, regrading, paving, landfilling, berming and diking of land within the watersheds of the City;
    • Regulate development within flood plains in order to assure that development is not dangerous to health, safety or property due to stormwater run-off, and does not increase flood heights or velocities, and to comply with the regulations of the National Flood Insurance Program;
    • Inform individuals of lands which are identified as subject to hazard from the regulatory flood; and
    • Regulate the connection to and use of the stormwater drainage system.

    Section 502. - Discharge requirements

    A. Allowable discharges.

    1. The following types of discharges shall not be prohibited discharges unless the Director determines that the type of discharge, whether singly or in combination with others, causes contamination of surface water, stormwater or groundwater; causes overload or damage to the MS4 or has the potential to endanger public health and safety; or causes the City to violate its OPDES Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit:

    • Potable water discharges;
    • Potable water line flushing;
    • Diverted stream flows;
    • Rising groundwater;
    • Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration;
    • Uncontaminated pumped groundwater;
    • Uncontaminated water from crawl space and footing drains;
    • Air conditioner condensations;
    • Irrigation water;
    • Springs;
    • Residential car washing (including charity car washes);
    • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands;
    • Swimming pool discharges (e.g. discharges without significant amounts of chlorine); or
    • Municipal street washing waters.

    2. Dye testing shall be an allowable discharge, but shall require verbal notification to the Director prior to testing. The City shall be exempt from this requirement.

    3. Any discharge that has a current NPDES discharge permit with the EPA or has a current OPDES discharge permit with the ODEQ shall be an allowable discharge, with the following exceptions:

    • A discharge that results in the City violating its OPDES Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit;
    • A discharge the Director determines causes contamination of surface water, stormwater or groundwater within the City; or
    • A discharge that could block or damage the MS4.

    4. Stormwater that is not commingled with stormwater associated with industrial activity and required to obtain an OPDES Storm Water Discharge Permit before it may lawfully create a point source discharge into the MS4.

    5. Any stormwater that is associated with industrial activity and has had pollutants removed by structural or nonstructural BMPs, to a level considered satisfactory by the Director shall be an allowable discharge.

    6. Other types of discharges determined allowable by the Director.

    B. Prohibited discharges.

    1. It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense to discharge or allow the discharge of any of the following into the City's MS4:

    • All non-stormwater except those classified as an allowable discharge in Subsection 502.A. of this chapter;
    • Any stormwater from any activity required to obtain an OPDES Storm Water Discharge Permit, unless the discharge is authorized by a valid OPDES Storm Water Discharge Permit;
    • Any spilled pollutants, unless it can be demonstrated that failure to allow the discharge will result in a greater imminent peril or hazard to the life, health, welfare or safety of the public; or
    • Any material that is disposed of or dumped in such a manner that causes pollutants to be discharged.

    2. It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense for any person to place, store or locate any material in such a manner that causes pollutants to be transported by wind, rain or other atmospheric conditions into the City's MS4.

    3. Any point source discharge into the City's MS4 that either singly or in conjunction with other discharges causes the City to violate its OPDES Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit shall be prohibited.

    4. It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense for any person to dispose of grass, dirt, leaves, trash or other pollutants into the City's MS4.

    5. Any illicit discharge, except those allowable pursuant to Subsection 502.A. of this chapter, shall be prohibited.

    Section 503 - Spills

    Spills that have the potential to enter or have entered the City's MS4 shall be contained, and remediation activity shall be commenced, as soon as possible. Any person identified as the source of any spill into the City's MS4 shall be required to remediate, remove and properly dispose of spilled materials. Remediation activities shall only be considered complete when the clean-up is deemed satisfactory by the Director. The required reporting or notification for such spills shall be completed as specified in Subsection 507.C of this chapter.

    Section 509 - Requirements for best management practices

    A. Implementation. If the Director determines that a stormwater discharge into the MS4 is, or has the potential of, contributing to water quality degradation, has potential to cause any violation of this chapter or, causes a violation of the City's OPDES Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit, a BMP shall be implemented. The type and number of BMPs shall be addressed individually, with the initial implementation of nonstructural BMPs, followed by structural BMPs. The Director may require additional BMPs to be implemented for any discharge from a commercial, residential and industrial source.

    B. Spill BMPs. All persons and industrial facilities shall take measures to prevent spills or any other accidental introduction of pollutants into the MS4. These measures shall take the form of BMPs.


    Tulsa City Stormwater Ordinances

    Tulsa County Phase II Stormwater Management Program