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Every day, Tulsans use millions of gallons of water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, manufacturing, irrigating lawns and crops, and recreation or other uses. The dirty water left behind by these activities is called wastewater and most of it is transported to treatment plants where it is cleaned before it is discharged into the Arkansas or Verdigris rivers. (Runoff from outdoor uses flows into storm drains and is carried directly to creeks and rivers without being treated.) 

Keeping Tulsa's water clean is a team effort that involves citizens and City workers. Federal and state regulations as well as City ordinances guide Public Works employees who operate and maintain the treatment plants, sanitary sewers, and other wastewater facilities. Residents and business people can do their part by disposing of hazardous waste properly, and funding the infrastructure needed by a growing city.

Currently, Tulsa can treat 103 million gallons per day of wastewater. There are 1,960 miles of underground trunk and collection system sewer lines in Tulsa, and 62 life stations that move the water to four major treatment plants, Northside, Southside, Haikey Creek and Lower Bird creek.