Since the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has set the standards for what constitutes safe drinking water for all the states.
Occasionally, the agency updates its rules and regulations. That happened in 2006, with the passage of three new rules addressing contaminates in ground water.
Not long after that, Oklahoma ran into a serious budget crises, and the state Department of Environmental Quality was cut, so much so that it could not afford to implement the new EPA rules.
As of March 2013, DEQ still hasn’t implemented those new rules, and if it doesn’t, the federal government is set to take over drinking was regulation in the state. That would put millions of dollars in federal assistance to communities with water infrastructure needs at risk.