Jun 06, 2005

Missouri Tightening up Standards for Water

Missouri has less than a year to tighten water-quality standards. The state is accepting public comment on proposed restrictions and which streams could qualify for removal from a list of protected bodies of water, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
Phil Schroeder, water quality chief for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said that the state must pass tougher water quality and discharge rules by April 30, 2006. The rules set limits for specific pollutants often found in sewage discharge and stormwater runoff.
According to the report, nine streams in Boone County are targeted to undergo analyses that will help determine whether the streams should be removed from a list of swimmable water bodies. The analyses are part of Missouri’s steps to pass tighter water quality standards.
DNR spokesman Kerry Cordray said the rules would have the greatest impact on sewage-treatment facilities. Operators of sewage treatment facilities would have to disinfect their discharge or do stream studies that prove they can meet standards without disinfecting, Cordray added.
According to Cordray sewage-treatment facilities also have the option of conducting a "use attainability" analysis, a scientific study that shows that a stream is not used for any water recreation and that water recreation would be impossible.
The proposed rule will bring the sate into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. If passed, the rule would lead to tighter limits on the levels of particular substances, such as fecal coliform bacteria, often found in sewage discharge or stormwater runoff.
DNR is seeking public comment on the proposed rule and on whether specific water bodies should be removed from the list of those designated for swimming, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
According to the draft of the rules, discharge into streams designated for whole-body contact must have a monthly average of less than 400 fecal coliform colonies per 100 milliliters. As a result, operators of most sewage treatment facilities will have to disinfect effluent before discharging it into streams.
Director Tom Ratermann said that disinfection equipment is estimated to cost the Boone County Regional Sewage District about $300,000. He added that the fee does not include installation or engineering work.
The sewer district is proposing use attainability analyses on 56 miles of streams in Boone County. The analyses will not automatically remove those sites from the list but are the first step in determining whether they should be removed, Ratermann said.
Jefferson city-based Barr Engineering has been hired by the regional sewer district to analyze portions of Hinkson Creek, Little Bonne Femme Creek, Bear Creek, Grindstone Creek, Kelly Branch, Little Cedar Creek, Rocky Fork Creek and Sugar Branch. Barr Engineering will also analyze water from a half-mile portion of the north fork of the Hinkson.