Stormwater Quality

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The City of Amarillo and its stormwater conveyance system is largely built on ancient playa lake drainage basins. In the distant past when one playa lake over filled it would spill into the next playa lake and so on until the water reached channels that would carry the flow directly to either the Canadian River or the Red River. Currently, it is unlikely that stormwater runoff originating within the city limits of Amarillo would reach the Red River. However, aided by mechanical pumping stormwater runoff through East Amarillo Creek and West Amarillo Creek may intermittently reach Segment 0103 of the Canadian River. The picture above is immediately downstream of Segment 0103 of the Canadian River as it flows into the Lake Meredith Segment 0102 of the Canadian River below the confluence of Camp Creek.

Many of the surface waters within Amarillo offer opportunities for fishermen and for birders. Medi Park Lake is stocked with Trout on an annual basis by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A wide variety of birds such as Avocet, Bufflehead, Black Crown Night Heron, Blue Heron, and Red Wing Blackbirds to name a few, can be observed seasonally at city lakes and area playa lakes.

Non point source pollution that enters into the storm sewer drainage system is difficult to control in urban runoff because it comes from everyday activities such as, lawn fertilization, pesticide application, littering, leaf blowing, grass clippings, and construction activities. Residual oils from roadways and parking lots along with solids and wind blown floatable materials find their way into the storage lakes. Many storage lakes are located at City Parks. Others are city owned but undeveloped while some are privately owned. 

In Amarillo the storm sewer drainage system generally begins at street perimeter: curbs, gutters, and driveways. From there, it is directed toward stormwater inlets and then through above ground and below ground storm sewer conveyances. Eventually the runoff makes its way into the storage lakes. This drainage system is separate from the wastewater system, and is referred to as an MS4 which is the acronym for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System.  

There are many things that citizens can do to help reduce their contribution of pollution into the storm sewer drainage system and have a positive impact on stormwater quality.

  • Apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, according the manufactures directions.
  • Do not litter.
  • Dispose of floatable trash such as: paper, plastic, and styrofoam in a responsible manner and in adequate containers. The windy nature of our region tends to direct litter into the storm sewer system.
  • Do not blow leaves or grass clippings onto the curbs or into the gutters.
  • Repair leaky equipment and vehicles. Use drip pans to contain leaks until repairs can be made. Keep absorbant available for spills and clean up.
  •  Do not discharge wash waters that contain detergents or surfactants, except for individual residential vehicle washing. 

The City of Amarillo Stormwater Quality Program is tasked with a large variety of important responsibilities some of which are:

Industrial Enforcement TXR050000

MS4 Permit Coordination and Implementation of Major Required Programs Construction Enforcement TXR150000
Stormwater Education  Stormwater Team Membership for City Operated Industrial Facilities that are required to permit under TXR 050000.  Playa Lake Sampling
Spill Response Sampling  Storm Event Discharge Monitoring Dry Weather Screening
  Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination  


Important Links

To report potential Illicit discharges or improper disposal of materials into the MS4, or to reach us with any questions contact us at:

 (806) 342-1528.

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