Do You Care About Water? Luke Owen, President, NPDES Training Institute

Episode 008: “People are upset when it impacts their property or their quality of life, but overall as the public we’re not seeing that,” explains T Luke Owen, president, principal consultant, and training provider of the NPDES Stormwater Training Institute. Luke has provided environmental industrial wastewater and stormwater training for over 30 years. Today, Luke joins host Ty to discuss the importance of getting the public to really care about water and understand the ways they can improve the quality of their own watersheds. 


In order for municipalities to stay in compliance with their NPDES permit, they must complete MS4 training that addresses the six minimum control measures for stormwater quality and management. These include public education and outreach as main components of the program. It is critical for the public to have a general appreciation of the quality of their local water and to realize how much has gone into maintaining that quality. People need to understand that their actions and inactions can have a direct impact on water quality. If they don’t really care about water, they will just keep on doing business as usual and not make necessary changes to keep their local water reservoirs clean. 


Instead of worrying about the broader issues like climate change, it is better for individuals to focus on what they can actually do to make a difference in the water quality of their own local watersheds. Without wide scale public concern and involvement, there is no hope for water quality to be maintained or improved.

Correction: In the episode, Luke misstated that the Cuyahoga River caught fire for the first time in 1861. After recording the episode, Luke corrected himself, saying that the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire for the first time in 1868.



  • “Getting people in touch with just being grateful for the water we have, because without that gratitude, then a design professional putting together an erosion plan or a stormwater pollution prevention plan is just a job.” (3:58-4:11 | Luke)
  • “Without enforcement we don’t have clean water.” (13:49-13:51 | Luke)
  • “People are upset when it impacts their property or their quality of life, but overall as the public we’re not seeing that.” (14:23-14:30 | Luke)
  • “We just need to focus on our personal responsibility, what can we do that is going to make a difference in the water quality in our watersheds.” (21:25-21:32 | Luke)
  • “You can’t have a healthy environment and have a weak economy, and you can’t have a weak economy and have a healthy environment.” (38:11-38:16 | Luke)

The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.

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