The Stormwater Division provides assistance to residences, businesses, builders and developers over federal, state and local regulations pertaining to the quality of runoff and potential runoff to keep in compliance with The Clean Water Act.
Construction Site Requirements
Since 2003 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), in accordance with The Clean Water Act, has been involved in making sure construction sites in Texas follow certain guidelines and rules to protect the environment and the health of the people who live nearby. Studies dating back to the early 1970's have shown that contaminates from construction sites pose a risk to the health and welfare of the community and the environment. The results of these studies has determined that certain activities be monitored and addressed by the owner/developer, construction companies/builders and regulating officials. These requirements can be found in the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Construction General Permit (TXR150000 CGP). Here at the City of Odessa, we assist and if need arises enforce the requirements stated in the TPDES CGP.
View our list of Construction Site Requirements (PDF).
MS4 General Permit
The Stormwater Division provides reporting and compliance for the quality of water leaving streets, alleys and storm sewers. The guidelines that must be followed are detailed in the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System General Permit, (TPDES MS4) General Permit. This permit and all the regulations written within were developed to lessen the amount of poor quality water runoff from storm events and even non-storm water runoff.
The City has multiple measures they perform to make this happen, from individuals going out and cleaning, to policies detailing the proper cleaning and disposal methods for hazardous materials. We realize the best way to clean up the city and maintain a healthy environment for everyone is to educate the importance of these issues. If the issues are important enough then change will follow. The Stormwater Division aims at informing all individuals of the types of activities around us that pose problems to the environment and human health.
The City of Odessa receives authorization from the State of Texas to be allowed to use their TPDES MS4 General Permit so long as we follow the requirements detailed in the permit. The permit is broken down into the following six categories:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
- Storm Water Management in New Development and Re-Development areas
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
For more information on how the City meets these requirements, view our Stormwater Management Program (PDF).
MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System)
Documents may also be viewed at the City of Odessa City Hall, 411 W. 8th St. Odessa, TX 79760
If you have lived in Odessa for more than a year, you realize that the chance of rainfall is slim to none. With annual rainfall averaging just below 14 inches a year, having a Division to monitor the quality of rain could seem a little pointless. So let's take some time to discuss the issues that come about with little rainfall.
Pollution Impedes Waterflow
We all have driven down the streets or walked down the sidewalk and noticed trash blowing in the wind or caught in a tree. The trash is not always in the same spot the next time we pass. So where did it go? The final destination for most trash is underlying low spots usually in culverts (small pipes underneath roads that allow nuisance flow to travel underneath roads away from traffic), ditches, swales, playa lakes or (most visible and unsightly) the limbs of trees. Even though the bags in the trees, bushes, and fence lines are what we see the most it is the trash in the low spots that is most detrimental to our safety.
Over time these low spots that carry water during storm events become obstructed with trash which impedes the flow. This could cause localized flooding and unnavigable or dangerous roadways. It only takes a couple of feet of water to lift up and carry an automobile. For every one foot of water, roughly 1,500 pounds of the vehicle is displaced, and most vehicles traveling at 45 miles per hour will hydroplane with just one-tenth of an inch of ponding water. It is evident how dangerous nuisance water can be to drivers, but what about the quality of water?
For many of us living in Odessa, surface waters are far from where we sleep, and those who do live next to a surface water body probably never realize what parts of our daily activities are causing pollution to our environment. If you live next to a surface water body, odds are any fluids that leave your home and end up in your yard, driveway or sidewalk will eventually reach the surface of that body of water.
Activities That Lend to Stormwater Pollution
The following are activities that could cause contamination of water:
- Blowing leaves and cutting grass into the street
- Cleaning brushes after painting or seal coating wood fences and decks
- Disposing of household grease onto the ground in the backyard or next to the dumpster
- Not picking up pet waste
- Not picking up trash
- Overapplication of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
- Washing your car at home and working on your vehicles and equipment
For the rest of us, we know that our runoff is not contaminating any surface water bodies since none are near our property or where we live. So is it ok to allow these activities to occur where you live?
How Pollution Ends Up in Our Water
The truth is most people will not contribute to the pollutant load of surface waters in our City. However, we still must conserve the water quality that could potentially make it into our groundwater. Odessa has some water wells only 100 feet deep. Other regions may have to drill 400 – 500 feet before they reach usable water and some areas have been reported to have wells up to 1,000 feet deep. In Odessa, water wells are closer to 150 feet deep, give or take a few feet. The fact that we have aquifers is evidence of water seeping into the ground.
So, whatever is in runoff that leaves our property or is discharged onto our yards has a really good chance of ending up in our groundwater so long as it is small enough to pass through the voids between the soils. The rest end up in low spots with ponding water susceptible to mosquitos and other insects, bacteria, and animals. A cesspool for diseases which again could seep into groundwater.
Stay current with your site(s) compliance and view all your City of Odessa Stormwater inspections. To access your inspections for the first time you will need to contact the Stormwater Department.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Generator
The City of Odessa has developed a SWPPP generator for most construction sites and is a free tool to help Contractors, Engineering Firms, and the General Public to create and maintain compliance with the rules and regulations of the CGP. The SWPPP Generator includes:
- SWPPP Creation
- Online Contractor Inspection Tools
- Online Log Maintenance for all relevant logs. (Keep all records online and live)
If you are concerned this generator is not for your site please contact the Stormwater Department.
How to Access
To access this free tool you will need to contact the Stormwater Department.
You may utilize the Stormwater Department to help prepare a SWPPP free of charge. If you would like to proceed, please confirm this option with the Stormwater department.