As an EPA Watersense partner, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources reminds consumers during Fix a Leak Week to find and fix leaks to save water in our community
Leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water in an average home every year – enough water to wash nearly 10 months’ worth of laundry. Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. Fix a Leak Week is March 18-24. Take this opportunity to check your household fixtures for leaks, and if you have one, repair it. It could prevent wasting thousands of gallons of water, and help your pocket book too!
In celebration of Drinking Water Week, the department, in conjunction with the American Water Works Association, held a poster contest.
- Addison Luetkemeyer, a fifth grade student at Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City, took first place and will receive $300.
- Kelsie Backues, a fifth grade student at Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City, took second place and will receive $200.
- Katie Kriz and Sara Salarno, fifth grade students at Union Chapel Elementary in Kansas City, took third place and will each receive $50.
The winners were chosen from hundreds of entries submitted by fifth grade students across Missouri. For more information, or to view the winning posters, visitwww.dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/dw-index.htm, or call the Department of Natural Resources’ Public Drinking Water Branch at 800-361-4827 or 573-526-1825.
The bill to extend the drinking water primacy fee to Sept. 1, 2017 was passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday. House Bill 1251 was passed by a majority vote and will move on to the Senate. If the bill is approved by both the House and Senate, it will be presented to Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature.
The primacy fee was established by the state legislature in 1992. The amount of the fee is based on water system size and ranges from $1.08 to $3.24 per water system customer per year. The primacy fee provides critical funding for laboratory services and activities the state must
perform in order to maintain delegation of the federal drinking water program. Without the primacy fee, the Department of Natural Resources would lack the funding to implement critical regulations necessary for protecting public health and maintaining primacy, and regulation of Missouri’s public water systems would revert to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The fee will expire this year if it is not extended by law.
Historically, maintaining primacy has saved Missouri public water systems, and the customers
of public water systems, about $6.5 million per year. Over the next three years, Missouri water
systems would have to pay more than $15 million if they were to pay for their own testing. This is because public water systems would have to do more monitoring under the federal regulation
than they do under state regulation. Vulnerability assessments performed by the Department of
Natural Resources reduce the amount of monitoring by approximately 75 percent; EPA does not perform such assessments and would require the full scope of monitoring. Also, the state laboratory can perform tests for significantly less than a water system would have to pay on the open market. The costs of the increased monitoring would inevitably affect customer water bills.
For more information, call the department’s Water Protection Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5331.
Get unused and expired meds out of your home
As part of a national drug take back initiative, several communities will be holding prescription drug take back events on Saturday Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Department of Natural Resources encourages everyone with unused medications to take them to a drop off point in your area to have them properly disposed of. Click here for a list of drop off locations.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue and provides a venue for folks in Missouri and throughout the country to dispose of unwanted drugs.
The event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration and several partners throughout Missouri including state and local law agencies and the Missouri Rural Water Association. Last April, Americans turned in 376,593 pounds—188 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 5,400 locations throughout the United States.
It was once widely accepted that flushing unused medications down the toilet was the best way to dispose of them. While flushing excess medications down the toilet or pouring them down the drain prevents misuse of the substance, this can cause other environmental problems. The medicines can harm the beneficial bacteria that are responsible for breaking down waste in the septic system or wastewater treatment plant. Municipal wastewater treatment facilities are not engineered for pharmaceutical removal. Many of the pharmaceutical medicines are not completely captured during the treatment process and may end up in nearby lakes, rivers or groundwater, where they can be reintroduced into the drinking water supply. Unused portions of prescription medicines must be disposed of properly to avoid harm to wildlife, pets, and people.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Utilizing the drug take back event can help lessen the environmental and social impact of these pharmaceuticals.
For a printable brochure on the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals, visit dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub2291.pdf.
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.