The main focus of the water quality program (or Clean Water Act Section 106) is to monitor the surface waters within the tribal jurisdiction. The water resource is interconnected with other water resources on tribal lands. Each month program staff measure dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, turbidity, temperature, nitrate/nitrite, total phosphorus, and E. coli in designated sampling sites. We also respond to complaints or concerns regarding other surface water resources such as creeks or ponds.
From 2009 to the present, staff members have monitored the portion of North Canadian River and other tributaries within the Kickapoo tribal jurisdiction. We will continue monitoring and maintaining adequate measures for prevention and control of surface and groundwater pollution activities from point and nonpoint sources.
Predominantly the Kickapoo tribal lands lie within the Lower North Canadian Watershed. The northern border of the jurisdictional area is bounded by the Deep Fork River, a tributary of the North Canadian River, and the southern border is bounded by the North Canadian River. The headwaters of the Deep Fork River are in north Oklahoma City; the North Canadian River passes through Oklahoma City prior to entering the jurisdiction. Rivers and streams within the jurisdiction provide cultural and agricultural resources. Cultural practices such as gathering of aquatic plants and wildlife are common within the Tribe. Agriculture consists primarily of open pastures for cattle with some cultivated land.
Two principal aquifers, the Garber-Wellington Aquifer, and North Canadian River Aquifer provide groundwater for most rural dwellings and small communities. The Kickapoo Tribe relies primarily on the groundwater resources within the tribal boundaries for domestic and commercial uses.
Water management in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area greatly impacts the quality of the Tribe’s surface water resources. Upstream urban impacts include stormwater runoff (MS4s), municipal wastewater discharges, sanitary sewer overflows, industrial discharges, and upstream impoundments. Impacts within the jurisdiction include agricultural runoff, municipal wastewater discharges, and failing private septic systems.
In 2013 we began receiving base level CWA §319 funding. §319 implementation projects are expected to result in a measurable improvement of water quality and deter impacts on the tribe’s water resources. A measurable water quality improvement would be very difficult to achieve on the North Canadian River. As a result, we hope to implement §319 projects on tributaries to the North Canadian River where they are most likely to result in measurable improvement such as renovating and educating homeowners the importance of maintaining their wastewater treatment system (e.g., aerobic systems or drain fields). For further assistance, we require homeowners to apply for I.H.S. assistance first by calling 405.214.4200 or visit Oklahoma City OEH. Our program can only handle small repairs with limited funding each year.
Please contact us for any additional questions either by completing the contact form or calling us. Help keep our waterways healthy for future use.
How Your Septic System Works
Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.
A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.
The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.
Alternative systems use pumps or gravity to help septic tank effluent trickle through sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants like disease-causing pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants. Some alternative systems are designed to evaporate wastewater or disinfect it before it is discharged to the soil.
View an animated, interactive model of how a household septic system works – Created by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.
Do you have a septic system?
You may already know you have a septic system. If you do not know, here are tell-tale signs that you probably do:
- You use well water.
- The waterline coming into your home does not have a meter.
- You show a “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged” on your water bill or property tax bill.
- Your neighbors have a septic system.
How to find your septic system
Once you have determined that you have a septic system, you can find it by:
- Looking on your home’s “as built” drawing.
- Checking your yard for lids and manhole covers.
- Contacting a septic system service provider to help you locate it.
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A foul odor is not always the first sign of a malfunctioning septic system. Call a septic professional if you notice any of the following:
- Wastewater backing up into household drains.
- Bright green, spongy grass on the drainfield, especially during dry weather.
- Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement.
- A strong odor around the septic tank and drainfield.