The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Oklahoma more than $2 million in grants to help curtail several types of pollution in watersheds.
The money will go to the state's secretary of environment to support the Oklahoma Nonpoint Source Management Plan, an ongoing effort to deal with runoff pollution from several sources.
Nonpoint source pollution in Oklahoma is mostly carried from rainwater flowing across and into the ground. As it does, it may pick up pollutants such as excess fertilizer, animal waste or oil and grease from urban runoff.
Tyler Powell, director of the environment secretary's office, said the grant money is actually an extra allocation provided by the EPA. It comes from other states in the region that didn't spend the money on environmental projects.
“We've led the way for a long time on nonpoint source pollution mitigation through the Oklahoma Conservation Commission,” Powell said. “What this shows is Oklahoma is doing its part in the region. This is a way to help those states.”
The $2 million in grants will be used for four projects, Powell said. About $811,000 will go toward retention cells to reduce phosphorus and sediment in urban waterways. Another $640,000 will be used for riparian protection in the Eucha/Spavinaw watershed in northeastern Oklahoma.
Almost $432,000 will go to the priority watershed implementation projects for Eucha/Spavinaw, Illinois River and Honey Creek watersheds. The remaining $176,000 will be used for sediment and phosphorus load reduction and stream bank stabilization projects.
Apart from the special allocation announced Thursday, Oklahoma normally gets about $2.4 million in federal funding each year toward nonpoint source pollution mitigation, said Gayle Bartholomew, environmental grants manager for the office.