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Missouri waters named 'Impaired'

September 19, 2001
By: Sarah Molina
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Columbia's Hinkson Creek will retain its distinction as one of the state's designated water-pollution problems as a result of a federally-mandated review now under way.

The creek, located off Broadway Blvd. just east of College Ave., is being contaminated by an unidentified pollutant due to an unspecified urban runoff point, according to Sharon Clifford, Missouri state government's coordinator for the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program.

The section of the 1998 Clean Water Law under revision requires states to conduct TMDL studies to determine the "loads" of hazardous waste material in state waters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the list be revised every four years starting in 1998. The next list is to be released in April 2002.

"We have to calculate: what can this body of water absorb and still not violate water standards," Clifford said.

By order of the federal Clean Water Law, each state must designate an Impaired Waters List. The Missouri list identifies waters that do not meet state water quality standards.

For 2002, the Missouri Natural Resources Department is proposing 26 waters to be removed from the current Impaired Waters List and 78 to be added.

Boone County's Lake of the Woods is a proposed addition to the list, while the committee plans to retain Rocky Fork's position as an impaired water.

By federal law, each state must provide EPA with an Impaired Waters List including proposals for water improvement. The federal law has a "requirement for point sources to meet certain quality limits" according to TMDL Team Leader Jack Generaux. Point sources are those with specific locations as the cause of the pollution.

However, there is no law in Missouri regulating "non-point" sources of pollution such as run-off from fields and other agricultural waste, according to Generaux.

Clifford urged Missouri citizens to take an active role in improving the quality of water in the state. She said water improvement in those waters contaminated by non-point sources of pollution will result only from voluntary action on the part of Missouri citizens.

Solutions will stem from education, funding, options, and, especially, local involvement, she added.

"If you're part of the problem, you have to be part of the solution," Clifford said. "And we're all part of the problem."

Clifford said the fear is that laws will be implemented if people do not voluntarily take care of the water and make efforts to reduce water pollution.

"I have a lot of faith in the citizens of this state," she said. "People in this state care. We have to act."

The department will present a final list of impaired waters to the Missouri Clean Water Commission for approval at a meeting on Jan. 9.

John Madras, chief of the planning section on the Water Pollution Control Board, said the panel takes comments about water quality seriously from the citizens of Missouri.

It will be accepting input on possible additions or deletions to the Impaired Waters List until Oct. 5. Citizens can call the Water Pollution Control Board at 751-7428 or visit the TMDL website at www.dnr.state.mo.us/deq/wpcp/wcp-tmdl.htm for a listing of community meetings.