NORMAN — The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has completed the preliminary draft of the total maximum daily loads for Lake Thunderbird’s watershed and submitted that draft to the Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 30.
A TMDL measures the amount of pollution a body of water can take without violating EPA standards and is particularly relevant as lake levels continue to fall below normal.
The EPA will review technical details of the draft TMDL, and changes are anticipated after the EPA review.
“We finished that preliminary draft and submitted it to EPA,” said Tim Ward, assistant director ODEQ/Water Quality Division. “There is no timeline on how long the EPA has to review it. Hopefully they’ll review it within the next few months, but we really don’t know.
“After we receive their comments, we will then make changes as we believe are necessary to that TMDL and will release that to public notice. At that time, not only will the public have an opportunity to comment but the EPA can comment again as well.”
Public comments are not being taken at this time.
“This is extremely early in the process,” Ward said.
Lake Thunderbird: Lake Thunderbird is the primary drinking water source for Norman and also serves Midwest City and Del City. It was designated as a Sensitive Water Supply lake by the state in 2002. The federal Clean Water Act and other regulations require TMDLs be developed for impaired bodies of water.
“It (the TMDL) characterizes the total maximum daily loads in the area,” Ward said. “At the same time, there are goals to a TMDL. It is a study that helps us to manage the amount of pollutants going into that basin.”
The first step of a TMDL is a modeling study for the lake and its watershed. To help accomplish that, a technical advisory committee was formed to provide recommendations and guidance for the development of the TMDL and watershed plan.