Missouris surface water resource
Missouris water quality is of vital concern to everyone who lives in Missouri. The term water encompasses both the water in our streams, lakes and rivers, or surface water; and that flowing below the surface, or groundwater. Currently, 52 percent of our streams and 94 percent of our lakes meet federal water quality standards. The remaining are classified as impaired water bodies, meaning they do not meet one or more water-quality standards. The standards address whether water is suitable for drinking, swimming, livestock watering and supportive of aquatic life. Of the 10,489 stream miles that do not fully meet water-quality standards, approximately 10,012 miles show impacts from chemicals or the physical condition of the water, and 228 miles do not support aquatic life.
Most of Missouri's 292,204 acres of lakes fully support aquatic life. However, approximately 117,000 lake acres are threatened by eutrophication, the nutrient enrichment of a water body that leads to increased algae growth. About 42,660 lake acres are impaired by herbicides or discharges from upstream dams.
The Federal Clean Water Act requires states to list impaired water bodies, where existing water pollution control procedures cannot correct the associated problems. These water bodies are required to have a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study. This will aid in the determination of how much pollutant a water body can assimilate without impairing water quality. This will then be included in the permitting process for that water body.
Successful implementation of water quality improvements will depend on support and coordination with all affected parties. Many of these groups have not been involved with regulation of water quality in the past. This fact, coupled with the new approach TMDLs provide, heightens the need for communication, coordination and support.
Missouri Water Quality Standards are the foundation and provide the justification for our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program. Standards are required by federal law to be reviewed at least once every three years and are subject to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans to comprehensively review the Missouri Water Quality Standards and propose changes to the Missouri Clean Water Commission.
Some items to be addressed in the next review are the criteria for metals and ammonia to prevent aquatic toxicity, bacterial criteria to protect recreational uses of water, application of groundwater limits, additional designation of outstanding national resource waters, specific biological criteria and flow maintenance below dams.
Missouris major rivers provide drinking water for millions of our citizens, flyways for migratory birds, an international attraction for tourists and a strong economic corridor. The department protects Missouris major river resources by advocating our interests to various river basin associations, interstate water groups and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The department actively monitors proposals and changes to the Missouri River Master Manual that controls management of the Missouri River and operation of six main stem reservoirs. The department also participates in associations that actively address issues involving other major rivers flowing into or out of the state of Missouri, such as the Mississippi River, and their associated benefits and impacts.
DNR has increased the availability of river and stream flow information by increasing the number of river gauging stations positioned at strategic locations across Missouri. This information is critical to Missouris efforts to monitor surface water availability to ensure adequate supplies for designated uses and protect our citizens from flood risk. Water uses include, but are not limited to, drinking water supplies, wildlife habitat, recreation, river commerce and thermal cooling.
Missouris groundwater resource
During 1999, 65 percent of all reported or known wells met state standards. Following proper construction standards ensures that the groundwater resources of the state are protected from poorly constructed wells that could serve as direct conduits for pollutants to enter groundwater supplies. Wells regulated include private water supply wells, exploration wells, monitoring wells, underground injection wells, and oil and gas production wells. Some wells drilled go unreported and their compliance with standards is uncertain. A challenge is to ensure that all wells are reported and certified as constructed within standards to maintain or improve our groundwater quality.
Increasing the number of groundwater monitoring stations from 46 to 70 has made major improvements in Missouris knowledge of groundwater trends and impacts to our groundwater resources. Groundwater data can now be obtained on a daily basis through the use of satellite telemetry that relays the data. This information is then made available through the Internet. This data is used to make sound decisions about the use and protection of groundwater.
Missouris public drinking water systems
The DNR also regulates all public water systems to ensure water supplied to the public is safe to drink. In 2000, 97.7 percent of Missourians were provided drinking water that met government standards. In Missouri, 2,760 active public water systems supply drinking water. The remainder of the population is served through private wells. For public water systems, DNR tests for as many as 90 different regulated chemicals. Monitoring frequency ranges from monthly to once every four years, depending on the characteristics of the contaminant and how vulnerable the source is to contamination. Many public water systems perform testing beyond that required by the state.
In fall 2000 or soon after, EPA will add new contaminants to regulate or significantly expand the regulation of existing contaminants to protect our drinking water and thus our health. Missouri will have to adopt these technical requirements in state rules or lose primacy. Primacy means EPA has delegated authority to DNR as the primary regulatory agency.
By 2005, increase compliance with minimum water-quality standards for: 18.4 stream miles out of 275.9 stream miles polluted by animal waste, active and abandoned mine lands, domestic point-source discharges, and industrial discharges; and 3,012 lake acres out of 4,566 impaired lake acres.
Number of stream miles and lake acres returned to compliance with water-quality standards
- Implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to improve drinking water quality, protect public health, enhance wildlife habitat and effectuate the conservation of soil and water on the agricultural cropland in the watersheds serving 58 public drinking water supplies in 36 counties.
- Comprehensively review the Missouri Water Quality Standards and propose changes to the Missouri Clean Water Commission.
- Issue grants and low-interest loans to assist in the construction of domestic wastewater and animal waste facilities.
- Broaden public education and provide training to increase the technical competence of Stream Team volunteers, which will improve the quality of the monitoring data available to technical staff.
- Provide protection of wetlands through purchase of wetland acreage when effective and appropriate for inclusion in the state park system.
- Develop a comprehensive and long-range program for state parks and historic sites to comply with environmental regulations and codes for public providers including preventative maintenance for water and wastewater systems.
- Remediate abandoned coal and metallic mineral mine lands to reduce water-quality impacts.
- Through the Special Area Land Treatment program for soil conservation within watersheds, work with landowners to implement Best Management Practices and establish agricultural landowner nonpoint-source projects.
- Prevent stream degradation by decreasing the runoff, sediment transport, nutrient leaching and the increased stream temperatures following timber harvest for chip mills, with the application of Best Management Practices.
- Conduct Total Maximum Daily Load studies to identify both point- and nonpoint-sources of pollution and facilitate the restoration of our rivers, lakes and natural aquatic habitats.
- Conduct special water-quality studies to assess source impacts and to better understand the interaction between pollutants and the aquatic environment.
- Develop and propose to the Clean Water Commission numeric biological criteria as a water-quality standard in order to identify better those impacted streams incapable of supporting the expected biological community.
- Conduct water-quality monitoring and assessment to ensure appropriate and timely treatment of waters that are showing deterioration regarding the desired changes in water quality or its beneficial use support.
- Implement Clean Water Commission directives to initiate the following rulemaking: water-quality standards for phosphorus, land-application standards for phosphorus, and permitting requirements for contract haulers for both poultry litter and other types of manure.
- Process permit applications for discharges to waters with impaired water quality and incorporate Total Daily Maximum Load plans into permits such that the permitting program ensures the reduction of pollutants into impaired streams.
- Incorporate pollution prevention measures into the permitting process as an effective means to reduce physical and chemical degradation of streams.
- Amend the permitting and certification processes to: improve the readability and enforceability, streamline the procedures, incorporate public comments, resolve technical problems and increase the frequency of inspections.
- Ensure that Missouri water quality meets standards and laws, through permitting, inspection and enforcement efforts. When necessary and appropriate for protection of our natural resources, promulgate new rules.
Continue efforts that proactively seek means to protect or enhance water quality.
These efforts all support the outcome of improved water quality and that outcome measure is the true measure of success for proactive programs.
- Maintain interagency coordination and cooperation through the Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Missouri Watershed Information Network, state and federal agencies, natural resources interest groups and private citizens.
- Promote the use of Environmental Management Systems to improve environmental performance by the regulated community.
- Working with our partners in the White River Basin, such as the James River Partnership, the cities of Springfield, Branson and Kimberling City, local, state and federal agencies, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Protection and the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, implement initiatives to improve water quality in the basin.
- Provide owner- and operator-training and technical assistance to improve performance and compliance of regulated facilities.
- Support multi-agency efforts to encourage application of Best Management Practices in the watersheds of drinking-water lakes impacted by farm herbicides.
- Continue Nonpoint-Source Plan implementation by supporting community-based watershed water-quality projects.
- Update and revise design regulations and standards for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations including incentives for technology that will meet both water-quality and air-quality standards.
- Assess the environmental impact of chip mills on the water quality of the state as well as the forest products industry, tourism and recreation industry.
Maintain the supply of water for major river basins for beneficial uses.
River flow at St. Charles/St. Louis, St. Joseph/Kansas City gauges
- Advocate positions that protect Missouris interests through participation in river basin associations.
- Annually review reservoir operational plans as they impact hydropower generation, water supply and other beneficial uses.
- Locate stream gauges to monitor low-flow levels on the Middle Mississippi River.
- Participate with technical and policy committees that may impact the White River.
- Monitor the activities and decisions of other states and the Corps of Engineers as they relate to water flow on major rivers and streams in Missouri.
- Improve the accuracy and reporting of flood/river stage information.
- Monitor proposed changes in the Missouri River Master Manual as they impact Missouris flood control benefits, drinking water supplies, river commerce and environmental and recreation needs.
- Participate with the State Emergency Management Agency to activate Missouris Drought Response Plan when conditions are dry.
- Determine present land-use patterns for major river corridors, including agricultural, wetlands, commercial and recreational.
- Develop remote sensing capability for use in natural resource inventories. These inventories are needed to determine impacts of development on Missouris natural resources.
- Promote and advocate flows required for water-supply intakes, power-plant cooling, and wastewater discharges.
- Promote and advocate increasing the number of rated river-gauging stations by DNR and other agencies, communities and interested parties. Gauge stations are needed to monitor flood flows, low flows during droughts and for calculating Total Maximum Daily Loads for water quality improvements.
Percentage of all wells constructed per well-drilling standards*
* There are wells drilled that are not reported and therefore not certified as being properly constructed.
Increase compliance with groundwater regulations by 2005 as follows:
- Private wells from 75 percent to 90 percent
- Oil, gas, mineral, and test holes from 93 percent to 95 percent
- Monitoring wells from 90 percent to 95 percent
- Underground injection-control wells from 90 percent to 95 percent
Objective MeasurePercentage of private wells; oil, gas, mineral and test holes; monitoring wells; and underground injection-control wells in compliance with regulations
- Continue to develop and evaluate new procedures to increase compliance with regulations of the Well Drillers Law.
- Enforce regulations of the Oil and Gas Law.
- Provide training sessions for private homeowners, drillers and pump-installers so wells are properly constructed and all groundwater-protection measures installed.
- Encourage financial institutions to ensure that water wells are certified before any lending agreements are finalized.
- Develop a series of maps showing areas of groundwater contamination with any special water-well drilling and casing requirements.
- Develop educational and outreach program for the oil and gas industry to increase compliance with Underground Injection Control regulations.
- Develop and implement procedures to improve the well-registration process.
- Coordinate and assist the Hazardous Waste Program in prevention of groundwater contamination from gasoline containing methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).
- Develop and implement rule changes to the Well Drillers Law to protect aquifiers in areas where well construction standards are inadequate because of nearby supplies of hazardous wastes.
- Investigate potential funding sources to seal abandoned wells, bore holes and open mine shafts to prevent the discharge of surface water into groundwater supplies.
Increase the availability and usability of geologic information as it relates to groundwater quantity and quality.
Objective MeasureResponse time to requests for information
- Increase the classification of losing streams.
- Increase well logging and rock-core descriptions in areas lacking subsurface geologic and groundwater information.
- Increase aquifer characterizations in areas of increased groundwater usage and land-use development.
- Develop Geographic Information System databases used in evaluations of groundwater resources.
- Provide technical expertise and geologic data to assist in the prevention of groundwater contamination from gasoline containing methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).
Increase the data available on groundwater quantities from 70 fully functional monitoring wells to 80 fully functional monitoring wells by 2005.
Percentage of fully functional monitoring wells used in the collection of continuous data.
- Maintain the integrity of the groundwater stations comprising the monitoring network. To minimize lost data, monitor the network.
- Evaluate need for additional stations in areas of high water demand.
- Ensure data collected is available for use through the Internet and by hard copy.
Percentage of Missourians living where public water supplies meet government standards
Increase compliance with health-based standards from 87 percent in 1998 to 90 percent in 2005 for all public water systems.
- Percentage of community public water systems in compliance
- Percentage of noncommunity public water systems in compliance
- Number of incidents of waterborne diseases
- Percentage of public water systems with acute violations
- Increase in the number of public water systems that are sampled on a regular basis and the number of bacterial, chemical and radiological samples analyzed.
- Increase the number of public drinking water systems inventoried.
- Maintain a contaminant monitoring program for public water systems in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Provide operator-training and other technical-assistance programs for public water systems.
- Provide funding for public water system improvements through grants and loans.
- Assure adequate construction of drinking-water facilities through plan and other engineering reviews, along with permitting and construction inspections.
- Help public water systems protect their source-water quality through source-water protection programs.
- Assist local governments and public water supply districts locate water supply wells in adequate and potable groundwater areas.
- Perform preliminary work on upcoming rules to help bring public water systems into compliance before the effective date of new federal and state rules. Monitor for contaminants before the rules become effective so systems can know in advance of the compliance date if they will have difficulty meeting the new or more stringent requirements. Encourage systems to make necessary changes before a compliance problem develops.
- Cooperate with other state and federal agencies to support nonpoint-source pollution control efforts and other source-water protection programs.
- Ensure that public drinking water systems in Missouri are properly managed through permitting, inspection and enforcement efforts. Promulgate understandable, reasonable and workable drinking-water rules through the Safe Drinking Water Commission.
- Promote system consolidation; wholesale water distributors and other mechanisms to provide public water systems with adequate water supplies.
- Ensure that source issues are adequately addressed in public water systems emergency operating plans.
- Coordinate contamination incidents and other emergencies with Department of Health and other agencies as appropriate.
- Implement new federal requirements by assessing the impact of the requirements; adopting them as state requirements through a public process; developing permitting, inspection, enforcement and data management efforts; and providing information and technical and compliance assistance to public water systems as needed.
- Develop a comprehensive and long-range program for state parks and historic sites to comply with environmental regulations including preventative maintenance for drinking water systems by June 2000. Develop this plan in concert with appropriate departmental programs.
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