Stormwater Quality

The City of Nichols Hills stormwater quality program includes educational and regulatory initiatives to encourage environmentally sound development and redevelopment. The program intends to reduce the amount of pollutants in our nation's waterways before they get into the waterways. These pollutants are common: salt, sand, sediment, fuel, grease, and oils from our roads, streets, and highways. Pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and pet and organic wastes from our lawns. Paint, sediment, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and wrappers from our construction sites. As these pollutants enter our streams, rivers, and lakes, they impair fish and wildlife habitats, contaminate drinking supplies, and spoil recreation areas.

Household Hazard Waste

Nichols Hills contracts with Midwest City for hazard waste disposal and hosts a local household item, electronic, and hazard waste disposal and recycling event every September (watch utility bills and website for flyers with date, time, and location information). 

Category 1 Phase II Small MS4

The City of Nichol Hills is a small residential municipality. 2.5 square mile in area, located just northwest of Oklahoma City, with a population of about 4,000 residents. Due to size and population, the City of Nichols Hill is included as part of Oklahoma City's urbanized area.

The city falls Under EPA guidelines of a Category 1 Phase II Small MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System). Our municipal storm sewer system is a collection of pipes and storm drains that connect to drainage basins that flow out of the city. At present, the Stormwater program is funded by the Nichols Hills Municipal Fund. We cost share with other cities on radio campaigns and other projects that will reach our citizens. We utilize available resources to satisfy the requirements of our OKR04 permit from ODEQ, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

This Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) (PDF) provides descriptions of all activities that will be conducted on behalf of Nichols Hills from the period 2021 to 2026 to meet its obligations under the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality's (ODEQ) general permit OKR04 for Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Discharges for Small Cities within Oklahoma. This SWMP, along with the Notice of Intent (NOI), constitutes the application for coverage under the OKR04 general permit. All six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) have been addressed in this SWMP. In addition, the City of Nichols Hills has not elected to incorporate the "Seventh MCM" into the SWMP, in which the city could have continuous coverage for all future municipal construction activities. Each MCM has several Best Management Practices (BMPs) or "action steps."

Oklahoma Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

The ODEQ has an established Oklahoma Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (OPDES) permit program under the OKR10 General Permit for Construction Activities. The City of Nichols Hills has the municipal authority to put "Stop Work" orders on construction sites that allow their crews to create conditions that would violate our permit. However, we hope to foster a cooperative environment with the local development community.

History of Stormwater Regulations

A permitting program for stormwater discharges was established under the Clean Water Act as the result of a 1987 amendment. The Act specifies the level of control to be incorporated into the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES stormwater permitting program, depending on the source (industrial versus municipal stormwater). These programs contain specific requirements for the regulated communities/facilities to establish a comprehensive stormwater management program or stormwater pollution prevention plan to implement any requirements of the total maximum daily load (TMDL) allocation. There are two phases:

Phase I

In 1990 the EPA promulgated Phase I regulations for establishing water quality-based municipal stormwater programs to address stormwater runoff from certain industrial and construction activities and from medium and large municipal separate storm sewer systems serving populations of 100,000 or greater. These "Phase I" regulations were incorporated into the existing NPDES permit rules that address point source dischargers. As a result, urban non-point source runoff became regulated as a point source.

Phase II

On December 8, 1999, EPA published final Phase II regulations that address urban stormwater runoff from cities under 100,000 population and counties that lie within the Urbanized Area as defined by the latest U.S. Bureau of Census designation or otherwise designated by the ODEQ as being required to obtain coverage under the State's Phase II Stormwater Program. The ODEQ has primary jurisdiction over permitting and enforcement of the Phase II Stormwater Program for Oklahoma. The Phase II final rule covers:

  • Operators of small MS4s in urbanized areas as designated by the Bureau of Census. A small MS4 is any MS4 that is not covered by Phase I of the program.
  • Operators of small construction sites that disturb one to five acres.

Allowable Discharges

The following non-stormwater sources are allowed and which the city has determined not to be substantial contributors of pollutants to the MS4:

  • Water line flushing
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Diverted stream flows
  • Rising ground waters
  • Residential building wash water without detergents
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground (well) water
  • Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration
  • Discharges from potable water sources
  • Foundation drains
  • Air conditioning condensate
  • Springs
  • Water from crawl space pumps
  • Footing drains
  • Lawn watering
  • Individual residential car washing
  • De-chlorinated swimming pool discharges
  • Street wash water
  • Fire hydrant flushing
  • Non-commercial or charity car washes
  • Discharges from riparian areas and wetlands

Discharges in compliance with a separate Oklahoma Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (OPDES) or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) NPDES permit. Discharges or flows from emergency firefighting activities provided that the Incident Commander, Fire Chief, or other on-scene firefighting official in charge makes an evaluation regarding potential releases of pollutants from the scene. Measures will be taken to reduce any such pollutant releases to the maximum extent practicable, subject to all appropriate, necessary to ensure public health and safety.