The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public meeting Sept. 12 to discuss draft plans to improve water quality in five metropolitan waterways in St. Louis County. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the St. Louis County Library – Daniel Boone Branch, 300 Clarkson Road in Ellisville
The plans are part of total maximum daily load studies, which describe pollutant reductions needed to improve water quality in the targeted waterways. The five waterways addressed by the studies include
- Watkins Creek.
- Gravois Creek.
- Creve Coeur Creek.
- Fishpot Creek.
- Coldwater Creek.
The federal Clean Water Act requires the department to establish a list of impaired waters and to develop improvement plans for those waterways included on the list. The department determined these five waterways do not meet water quality standards due to bacteria levels and placed them on the 2010 list of impaired waters.
The study process works best when local citizens come together to understand and identify problems in their watershed, and help develop the most effective solution for reducing water pollution and developing a successful watershed management plan.
Links to the studies and supporting documents are available online at www.dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/tmdl. The public is encouraged to participate in this process if they have concerns or if they would like to provide support for the process. For more information, call the department’s Water Protection Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-7428.
A department Environmental Emergency Responder investigated the discovery of an apparent petroleum sheen on a Mountain Grove creek that drains into Whetstone Creek in Wright County on January 26.
Mountain Grove Fire Department contacted the department late Thursday afternoon regarding the discovery when personnel noticed the sheen combined with a strong petroleum odor.
Upstream of the incident, the responder observed approximately one half inch of free phase red dye diesel in the above ground storage (AST) containment at a local petroleum facility. A storm water culvert runs directly underneath the AST containment and surfaces above ground approximately 300 feet from that location.
The responder requested the potential responsible party pump out the remaining 300-350 gallons of diesel fuel and water from the AST containment. The company is maintaining absorbent pad and booms on the creek.
The department will work closely with the potential responsible party on an excavation strategy to help determine if the petroleum impact to the waterway is a result of a previously opened valve or if the AST containment is compromised providing a direct downward path to the water exists.
The Environmental Emergency Responder will conduct further investigation. The Environmental Emergency Response section is called to the scene of more than 300 emergencies each year, including fires, traffic accidents, leaking storage tanks and other incidents that could have a negative environmental impact. The department’s 24-hour spill line receives more than 1,600 incident reports annually.
To report an environmental emergency, including fuel spills, please contact the spill line at (573) 634-2436. For more information about the program visit Environmental Emergency Response.
The Ozarks Resource Center based in West Plains, is a nonprofit organization that promotes learning and hands-on education about the watersheds and environmental issues in south central Missouri. In 2010, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources provided the center with a $10,000 grant to create the documentary Karst in the Ozarks.
This 18-minute documentary explains how landforms in the Ozarks developed over time resulting in numerous rivers, caves and springs. The video also demonstrates how Ozark groundwater is vulnerable to pollution from nonpoint source pollution such as stormwater runoff.
The video, aimed at middle and high school students, covers basic information about Karst features, such as sinkholes, caves and losing streams, and shows how human interactions within a Karst system affects water quality. The video also outlines how to avoid nonpoint source pollution in a Karst environment and discusses cave species like the endangered Ozark cavefish, gray bat, and Tumbling Creek cave snail.
The video can be viewed on the Bryant Watershed Education Project website at www.watersheds.org/earth/karstvideo.html.
Do you know what’s in your drinking water? If not, the department is urging consumers to find out more about their drinking water quality by reviewing a report from their local water system.
Public water supplies were required to make the Consumer Confidence Reports available to their customers by July 1. The reports describe the water sources used by the systems and identify any contaminants found during routine drinking water testing. The reports also inform consumers of the water system’s compliance with other drinking water-related rules and provide general information about drinking water and health, enabling Missourians to make practical, knowledgeable decisions about their health and environment.
To assist utilities in producing the reports, the department created an informational packet that contains a template and tips on developing an informative report and making it available to customers. The Consumer Confidence Reports also provide suppliers with an opportunity to explain how they protect the community’s drinking water supplies in order to build their relationship with the customer.
All community water systems are required to make a Consumer Confidence Report available to all of their customers. These systems include cities, water districts, subdivisions, mobile home parks and other water systems serving at least 25 residents. A copy of the report will be sent by mail, published in the local newspaper or posted at the water system’s office, public buildings and the local library. Large water systems serving more than 10,000 people must deliver each customer a copy of the report directly and smaller systems may use one of the other delivery or notification options. Several water systems post the report on the web.
The department encourages the public to read their water system’s Consumer Confidence Report and become better informed about their drinking water. Any citizen served by a community water system who has not received a Consumer Confidence Report should call their water provider and request a copy.
In 2008, the Department of Natural Resources gave the University of Missouri-Columbia a $10,000 grant to develop and implement the Healthy Yards for Clear Streams Program. Now, three years later, the program has taken off statewide.
The grant funding was provided through what’s called a 319 grant. This grant program provides federal funding to organizations that aim to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.
The Healthy Yards for Clear Streams Program provides for educational workshops on creating a natural yard that will not only flourish, but also be watershed-friendly. Participants learn to create an environmentally sustainable yard using responsible pest management techniques, conserving water, limiting and ensuring proper use of fertilizers and other tools to reduce stormwater runoff. The program recognizes individuals who implement watershed-friendly practices with a Yard of Merit certificate and yard sign.
Stormwater runoff from yards, streets and parking lots is one of the most significant sources of contamination in our surface waters. Reducing the amount of pollution from surface runoff is a huge step toward protectingMissouri’s beautiful streams, lakes and rivers. These contaminants from can harm wildlife, reduce water clarity, and make the water unsafe for swimming or other recreational activities.
So the next time you see a Yard of Merit sign in someone’s yard, know that they are doing their part to protect our environment.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources wants to know about your favorite Missouri swimming hole – or more specifically, whether your favorite swimming hole is on one of the more than 380 Missouri waterways whose recreational uses the department is currently reviewing.
As part of a periodic review of state water quality standards required by the federal Clean Water Act, the Department of Natural Resources is considering revisions to the recreational use designations assigned to a number of Missouri streams and rivers.
All of these rivers and streams have undergone a scientific survey, known as a use attainability analysis, but the department also wants to hear from those who may have used these waterways for swimming, fishing, wading, tubing or any other type of recreation. The combination the scientific survey and your reports will help us to determine what level of protection to provide these streams.
The department is committed to protecting the public who use our streams for recreation, while at the same time being careful not to cause small communities or ratepayers to pay higher fees to protect uses that do not exist or are not attainable.
The department issued a news release earlier this month with additional detail. To review the scientific survey results and the department’s recommendation online and see which streams may be affected, visit the department’s use attainability analysis webpage. This page includes an online survey to assist the public in submitting comments as well as a video that further explains the process.