Water Quality

What Is It?

"Water quality is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose." - courtesy the U.S. Geological Survey- USGS

So water quality is important when it comes to the glass you drink, what you use to water your yard and the source of water for the food you eat. 

What Affects Water Quality?

Water quality can be compromised by three main factors: 

  • Point Source Contamination - can be traced to specific points such as waste water treatment plants and factories or sewers. 
  • Air Pollution - Airborne pollutants like pesticides can travel far from their origin, and collect in streams and lakes. 
  • Eroded Soil and Sediment - Sometimes a result of water runoff, various nutrients and toxins can make their way into a water supply through erosion.

What You Can Do:

  • If you receive your water from a public supplier, they are required to issue an Annual Consumer Confidence report, and you can obtain a copy. The report details the water's overall quality, its source and any contaminants recorded in the last year. 
  • If you use a well as your primary water source, you can visit the EPA's website and read their recommendations for well owners. Online you can find general information about the proper construction of wells, as well as water quality details specific to where you live. 
  • Use a water filter on your tap or in your refrigerator to eliminate many excess particles (almost 80,000 contaminants at one time or another) within your water, without extracting essential minerals like calcium and sodium. 


 The Oklahoma Experience Of:

 Blue Thumb Water Pollution Education

128 E 3rd St.
Bristow, OK 74010
(918) 398-1804    
Blue Thumb Education Program's website


Blue Thumb Water Pollution Education Program
“Stream Protection through Education”

Oklahoma is blessed with miles and miles of clean streams and rivers. People across the state have taken notice, and many have elected to get involved in stream protection.  Through the Blue Thumb water pollution education program, citizens can learn about stream monitoring and then adopt a stream on which they collect data, thus learning about the stream’s condition.

Blue Thumb celebrates the monitoring of 110 streams by dedicated,well-trained volunteers.  These volunteers not only collect chemical,biological, and habitat data, they also help residents in their watersheds gain a better understanding of how streams work and how they can be protected.

Streams and rivers are best protected when citizens are aware that everyone lives in a watershed.  What happens on your property can impact your neighborhood creek and ultimately the stream, river, or lake where you fish, swim, or obtain drinking water.  We all live downstream!

Care is best taken of our water resources when we:

▪   Are responsible when applying chemicals to lawns – excessive use or sloppy application can result in fertilizers and pesticides flowing with storm water into storm drains, ditches, and eventually streams.  Read labels and follow instructions.
▪    Keep cars well-maintained.  Oil drips, antifreeze overflows,etc. result in unwanted automotive products leaving the pavement in storm water and entering your creek.
▪    Stay in touch with your local conservation districts and OSUExtension offices for conservation planning, yard care information, and proper disposal of potential pollutants.
▪    Keep development and agriculture away from sensitive stream banks.  Streams need their riparian areas (zones of natural vegetation along the banks).
▪    Realize that being a good citizen means being informed about environmental issues in your community.