Water Resources Board Approves New Quality Standards

Article excerpt

New water quality standards were approved by the Oklahoma Water Resource Board Tuesday during a packed meeting of s upporters and opponents at the Oklahoma Department of Health.

The standards, which critics say will worsen the condition of Oklahoma's water in general, and the water flowing into the N. Canadian River specifically, were generally attacked by the Sierra Club and the Oklahoma Wildlife Federation.

Those groups said "hasty and ill-considered last-minute changes" corrupted the new standards after they had been under consideration since 1984.

But, supporters of the revised standards say economics played a major role in the new water quality standards.

The measure now goes to the Oklahoma legislature for approval before being sent to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Oklahoma Sen. Marvin York said he agreed with the board's decision to accept the recommendations of several central Oklahoma cities that the standards, as proposed by them, be accepted.

"(Those cities) and all the other little cities in the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments can live within those regulations, and they now will not be in noncompliance when their permits for wastewater treatment plants are issued," York said.

"We have accomplished the purpose of what I wanted to do."

York said previous recommendations would have placed regulations into effect that were "two-and-a-half times more stringent than the ones they adopted today.

"I consider that to be a rather significant victory. Oklahoma City will not have to expend a tremendous sum of money in an attempt to come into compliance," York said.

Previously, a group of cities that banded together into the Clean Water Task Force to fight the more stringent regulations, said about $700 million statewide would have to be expended by towns and cities across the state to come into compliance with the regulations. …