Frequently Asked Questions

We receive many questions from Oklahoma citizens and businesses through our Customer Service hotline and AskDEQ email. To improve services, these Frequently Asked Questions were developed to address the vast majority of inquiries we receive. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, please contact the Customer Service hotline at (800) 869-1400 or email us at AskDEQ.

Asbestos

Asbestos is covered by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and EPA has delegated responsibility to regulate this NESHAP to Oklahoma DEQ. The asbestos NESHAP contains several requirements regarding demolition, renovation, and disposal of asbestos.

DEQ has prepared an informative fact sheet that explains many of the asbestos NESHAP requirements including notifications to DEQ, demolition/renovation requirements, and disposal requirements. If you have additional questions about the asbestos NESHAP, please contact one of our asbestos experts in DEQ’s Air Quality Division at (405) 702-4100.

Billing, Invoices, Payments

All questions pertaining to billings, invoices, or payments should be directed to DEQ’s Accounts Receivable HelpDesk via email or by calling (405) 702-1130.

Burning

In most cases, open burning is prohibited due to potential air contamination and detrimental health effects to people. The two most common forms of acceptable burning are:

  • yard brush – if the brush is burned on the property where it is generated, and
  • household trash – if it is burned on the property where it is generated AND no collection and disposal service is reasonably available.

When burning is authorized, it can be performed only if the following requirements are met:

  • It does not cause a public nuisance or violate a local ordinance.
  • It does not create a visibility hazard on any roadway, rail line, or air field.
  • It does not adversely affect the ambient air quality of a city or town.
  • It is conducted only between three hours after sunrise and three hours before sunset.
  • It is not done on days when DEQ has issued an ozone or particulate matter watch.

We have prepared a very informative fact sheet providing more information about open burning. If you see what you believe may be unauthorized open burning, you may file a complaint with DEQ by either filling out the online form or contacting our 24-hour hotline at (800) 522-0206. Please include as much information as possible.

Complaints

If you wish to file an environmental complaint, you may either fill out the online form or contact our 24-hour hotline at (800) 522-0206. Please include as much information as possible.

Compliance History

If you would like copies of inspection reports for businesses regulated by DEQ, contact Central Records by email or at (405) 702-1188. Please be sure to include the name of the business, former names if known, and the street address. Additionally, EPA maintains a public website for compliance and enforcement history for regulated businesses across the US.

Composting

Composting is a natural process to break down organic matter and convert it to a useable material for use in gardens. DEQ has prepared a very informative fact sheet to help you get started with your home composting operation. If you have other questions, please contact one of our composting experts in DEQ’s Land Protection Division at (405) 702-5100.

Disposal of Solid Waste

In general, all solid waste must be disposed at a facility permitted by DEQ. A list of currently-permitted disposal facilities can be found here.

Oklahoma statues do allow an individual to dispose of his own household waste on his own property when all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the property is owned by the individual; and
  • the waste does not originate from business or commercial activities (whether at the individual’s home or at another location); and
  • disposal on the property does not violate any local government ordinance, create a nuisance, or present a hazard to public health or the environment.

Burning of household waste is generally prohibited unless there is no trash collection and disposal service reasonably available. Today, most rural areas of Oklahoma have trash collection and disposal services available. Where burning of household waste is authorized, the burning must be done according to the requirements set out in the FAQ on Burning.

If you have other questions, please contact DEQ’s Solid Waste Program at (405) 702-5100.

Environmental Impact Reviews (NEPA)

For complete information, please go to our Environmental Assessment & Reviews page.

Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping of waste presents several environmental and health risks, and is an eyesore. To report illegal dumping, please contact DEQ’s 24-hour complaints office either online or at (800) 522-0206. Include as much information as possible.
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Lead and Copper in Drinking Water

EPA promulgated the Lead and Copper Rule in 1991 to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water. Exposure to lead can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys, especially in young children. Exposure to copper can cause stomach and intestinal distress and liver and kidney damage. Because lead and copper in drinking water is mainly due to corrosion of service lines and household plumbing, tap water samples are collected at kitchen or bathroom taps of residences and other buildings. If lead or copper action levels are exceeded in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the public water supply system must undertake corrective action to control corrosion.  DEQ has prepared an informative fact sheet about lead in drinking water. If you have additional questions, please contact DEQ’s Water Quality Division at (405) 702-8100 and ask to speak with someone in our Public Water Supply Compliance Program.

Local DEQ Offices

If you need to contact your local DEQ representative, go to our local offices webpage and click on the county in which you live.

Media Inquiries

All media inquiries should be directed to Erin Hatfield, DEQ’s Communications Director by email or at (405) 702-7119.

Medical Waste – Sharps

Today, it is not uncommon for citizens to give themselves injections at home for a variety of medical conditions; however, disposing of used needles with your regular trash is not the best solution. First, it’s illegal. State statutes prohibit untreated sharps from being disposed in the trash, regardless of the source of the sharps. It is also dangerous to the people who handle your household trash due to the potential for needle sticks and disease transmission. Fortunately, inexpensive solutions exist. Please review the Safe Sharps Disposal fact sheet, a joint effort by DEQ and the Product Stewardship Institute, to learn more about safely handling your used sharps. If you still have questions, please contact one of our medical waste experts in DEQ’s Land Protection Division at (405) 702-5100.

Mold in your home

Mold produces a musty odor that may be the first indication of a problem. To find mold, examine areas for visible signs of mold growth and water staining. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in an indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Oklahoma does not have a licensing or certification program for mold testing or cleanup companies, or individuals offering such services. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the property owner to prevent mold and to cleanup mold if present. DEQ has prepared a fact sheet that discusses mold and offers suggestions for cleanup.

To find out for sure whether or not mold is present, you may wish to contact a mold testing company. DEQ does not maintain such a list, but you may be able to look online to find a reputable company in your area. Additional mold information may be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are a renter with a mold problem, first contact your landlord to see if he will correct the problem. As a renter, you have certain rights to ensure your residence is livable.

Odors

There are no state or federal regulations for odors; however, bad odors can sometimes be caused by improper activities for which DEQ has jurisdiction. Contact DEQ’s Environmental Complaints office, either through the Online Complaint Form or by phone at (800) 522-0206. Please include as much detail as possible.

Operator Certification

DEQ’s operator certification webpage contains the forms, study guides, and DEQ contact persons.

Permit – Air

Whether or not your business will need an air permit depends on many factors. Please contact DEQ’s Air Quality Division at (405) 702-4100 for more assistance.

Permit – Public Water Supply Construction

The Construction Permitting Section of DEQ’s Water Quality Division reviews plans and specifications for the construction of all water and wastewater facilities, water supply lines, and water storage within Oklahoma. Sludge Management Plans are also evaluated in accordance with federal and state regulations. Permits are issued if the construction plans comply with all DEQ requirements. We have prepared a very detailed fact sheet of Frequently Asked Questions about the Construction Permitting Program. If you still have questions, please contact one of Water Quality Division’s construction permitting experts at (405) 702-8100.

Permit – Construction Site Stormwater

Operators of construction sites where one or more acres are disturbed, or smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale where there is a cumulative disturbance of at least one acre, must obtain coverage under the Construction General Permit, OKR10, by submitting a completed Notice of Intent to DEQ. This includes the installation or relocation of water or sewer lines that have the potential to disturb more than one acre. The authorization must be obtained prior to any activity that will disturb the soil at the project site.

To receive authorization, you will need to complete DEQ Form 606-002A and mail to DEQ with the appropriate fee. The current form may be downloaded from DEQ’s Stormwater webpage.You must also implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for the site.

We have prepared an informative fact sheet with answers to other questions you may have. If you have additional questions, please contact DEQ’s Stormwater Unit via email or at (405) 702-6116.

Petroleum Underground Storage Tanks

Questions pertaining to petroleum underground storage tanks should be directed to the Petroleum Storage Tank Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at (405) 521-4683.

Phase 1 Site Assessments

Records for Phase 1 Site Assessments may be requested from Central Records by email or at (405) 702-1188. Please be sure to have the physical address of the property in question and current/former names of any businesses associated with the property.

Private Water Well – Disinfection and Maintenance

Properly disinfecting and maintaining your private water well are important steps to make sure the water delivered to your family is safe. We have prepared very informative fact sheets about disinfecting and maintaining your well. If you have additional questions, contact your local DEQ representative by going to our local offices webpage and clicking on the county in which you live.

Private Water Well – Testing

Periodically testing the water from your well is an important step to make sure the water delivered to your family is safe. We have prepared a very informative fact sheet about testing your home water well to answer many of the questions you may have. If you wish to have your well water tested, contact DEQ’s State Environmental Lab via email or at (866) 412-3057. They will be happy to assist you.

Public Water Supply Tests

Federal law requires operators of public drinking water systems to periodically test their water and make those test results available. If you wish to see the results for your system, go to Drinking Water Watch. Here, you will be able to search for your public water supply and see current and historical test results, as well as various other details about the public water supply.

If you have additional questions, please contact DEQ’s Public Water Supply program at (405) 702-8100.

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas produced from the decay of uranium in the soil, rock and water. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and is essentially harmless at levels found in the atmosphere in most locations. It can become a health hazard if it is trapped and concentrated in homes and other buildings. EPA recommends radon mitigation if radon levels are at or above 4 picoCuries per liter. To obtain a radon test kit contact DRHOMEAIR at (800) 324-5928 or www.drhomeair.com/ok. The kit, return postage, and analysis are provided at no cost to Oklahoma residents.

Oklahoma does not have a state certification program for radon mitigation professionals. If you are looking for a qualified radon service professional to test or mitigate your home, you may contact either the National Environmental Health Association at (303) 756-9090 or the National Radon Safety Board at (866) 329-3474. Both of these organizations offer accreditation and certification in radon testing and mitigation.

If you have other questions about radon, please review our Radon Fact Sheet or contact one of our radon experts at (405) 702-5100.

Records Requests

Contact DEQ’s Central Records by email or at (405) 702-1188. Please be as specific as possible about the records you need.

If you are with a media organization, please contact Erin Hatfield, DEQ’s Communications Director by email or at (405) 702-7119.

Recycling

DEQ encourages recycling as a way to conserve resources and landfill space. Please visit our Recycling Information webpage for information about materials that can be recycled and where, and other tips and information about recycling. If you have additional questions, please contact one of DEQ’s recycling experts at (405) 702-5100.

Septic – Discharges

Discharges from septic systems are a significant health risk. Report such discharges to DEQ’s 24-hour complaints hotline either online or at (800) 522-0206. Please include as much information as possible.

Septic – Soil/Perc Tests and Profilers

A soil test must be performed before installing any subsurface septic system.  The two types of tests that may be performed are the percolation (perc) test and a soil profile. A perc test measures how much water drops in a test hole within a specified time period. This relates to the ability of the soil to absorb water.  A soil profile is a more scientific test to evaluate three critical aspects of the soil so that the most appropriate system can be designed for your property. DEQ maintains a list of certified soil profilers. If you wish, you may request that a DEQ Environmental Specialist perform the soil test by completing a Request for Service.  A representative from your local DEQ office will contact you to schedule the test. Please visit Soil Profilers/Soil Tests for additional information. If you have other questions or concerns about your septic system, you may contact your local DEQ representative by visiting our local offices webpage and clicking on the county in which you live.

Septic – System/Lateral Line Locations

Records pertaining to an installed septic system may be obtained by contacting Central Records by email or at (405) 702-1188. Please be sure to have the physical address of the property in question.

If you have other questions or concerns about your septic system, you may contact your local DEQ representative. Go to our local offices webpage and click on the county in which you live.

Septic – Installers, Pumpers, Haulers

Oklahoma law requires a license for anyone engaged in the business of pumping, hauling or disposing of domestic wastewater (septage) from septic tanks¸ holding tanks, chemical toilets, or any other similar wastewater holding tanks. All septic installers, pumpers, and haulers must be certified or licensed by DEQ. DEQ maintains up-to-date lists of authorized installers, pumpers and haulers.

To apply for a license to install septic systems, please download an application packet, complete the application, and mail to DEQ with the required fee..

To apply for a pumper/hauler license, please download an application packet, complete the application, and mail to DEQ with the required fee.

DEQ will notify each license holder when it is time to renew licenses.

If you have additional questions, please contact DEQ’s Environmental Complaints and Local Services Division at (405) 702-6100.

Surfacing Sewage

Surfacing sewage poses a significant health risk. Please report surfacing sewage to DEQ’s 24-hour complaints hotline either online or at (800) 522-0206. Please include as much information as possible.

For more information, please see DEQ’s fact sheet on surfacing sewage.