Strategic Issue 1

Missouri’s surface water resource
Missouri’s 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.

Missouri’s 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 Missouri’s 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 Missouri’s 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.

Missouri’s 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 Missouri’s 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.

Missouri’s 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.

Protect and enhance the quality and quantity of Missouri’s water resources.
outcome a.
Improved protection of Missouri’s water resources (Show-Me Result)

Outcome Measure Percent lake acres and stream miles that are safe and usable for the designated beneficial purposes

Objective 1

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.

Objective Measure

Number of stream miles and lake acres returned to compliance with water-quality standards

Issue 1 Outcome A1 chart.

Strategies

Objective 2

Continue efforts that proactively seek means to protect or enhance water quality.

Objective Measure

These efforts all support the outcome of improved water quality – and that outcome measure is the true measure of success for proactive programs.

Strategies

Objective 3

Maintain the supply of water for major river basins for beneficial uses.

Objective Measure

River flow at St. Charles/St. Louis, St. Joseph/Kansas City gauges

Strategies

Outcome B.
Sufficient quantity and quality of groundwater resources

Outcome Measure

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.

Objective 1

Increase compliance with groundwater regulations by 2005 as follows:

Objective Measure

Percentage of private wells; oil, gas, mineral and test holes; monitoring wells; and underground injection-control wells in compliance with regulations

Issue 1 Outcome B1 factoid.

Strategies

Objective 2

Increase the availability and usability of geologic information as it relates to groundwater quantity and quality.

Objective Measure

Response time to requests for information

Strategies

Objective 3

Increase the data available on groundwater quantities from 70 fully functional monitoring wells to 80 fully functional monitoring wells by 2005.

Objective Measure

Percentage of fully functional monitoring wells used in the collection of continuous data.

Strategies

Outcome C.
Improved drinking-water quality in Missouri (Show-Me Result) by public water supplies that meet all health-related standards

Outcome Measure

Percentage of Missourians living where public water supplies meet government standards

Objective 1

Increase compliance with health-based standards from 87 percent in 1998 to 90 percent in 2005 for all public water systems.

Objective Measures

Issue 1 Outcome C1 chart.

Strategies

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