You can help keep Fort Sill’s storm water clean

By Monica WoodSeptember 15, 2023

Golf Course drainage
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Flipper's Ditch, a drainage system constructed in 1878 to eliminate stagnant malarial ponds and swamps on Fort Sill, runs through the Fort Sill Golf Course and drains north into Medicine Bluff Creek. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flipper's Ditch
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Flipper's Ditch at Martha Songbird Park is part of Fort Sill's storm water drainage system and was engineered in 1878 by Lt. Henry O. Flipper. It eliminated stagnant malarial ponds and swamps created during the rainy season and did much to improve the health of the post. Draining north into Medicine Bluff Creek, it continues to control flood waters and erosion in this area today. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sitting Bear Creek
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sitting Bear Creek is one of four creeks on Fort Sill into which all storm water run-off discharge. It is important that everyone do their part to keep the water quality in the creeks unpolluted. (Photo Credit: Monica Wood) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Sept. 15, 2023) -- It’s hard to imagine a drip of oil or a bit of dirt will harm our water supply, but even small amounts can pollute a vast amount of water.

Environmentalists say polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water quality.

According to Scott Sherman, environmentalist in charge of Fort Sill’s storm water programs, Directorate of Public Works, environmental problems evolve slowly and tend to sneak up on us with damage usually being done before we realize anything is wrong.

“One quart of oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water, said Sherman. “Tasks you perform daily may have a potential impact on what is washed down the storm drain.”

Sherman said Fort Sill’s drainage system includes: catch basins, storm sewers, creeks, ponds, lakes, ditches, natural low areas and drainage features to accommodate storm water run-off. Inside the cantonment area, there are 12 major storm water outfalls, which can be strained when we get heavy rains. All of these outfalls discharge into Medicine Creek, Sitting Bear Creek, Wolf Creek and a tributary of East Cache Creek.

In addition to accommodating the quantity of storm water run-off, the storm water drainage system also serves an important water quality function. The storm water drainage system can remove significant amounts of natural and man-made pollutants.

“Fort Sill continues to implement several practices to improve storm water quality. However, the first step in increasing the quality of storm water run-off begins with you,” he said. “We want you to be aware of potential problems and show that indeed one person can make a difference. Remember, the key to decreasing pollution often begins right in your own back yard, and Fort Sill is our back yard.”