Missouri rivers, creeks and lakes impaired by pollution are being listed by the Missouri Clean Water Commission in hopes that someday they will be removed from the list.
Federal law requires the state to identify bodies of water not meeting quality standards.
“The impaired water list is a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act which requires each state to identify waters that aren’t meeting water quality standards and requirements,” according to Judd Slivka, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.
Slivka says some bodies of water make the list, because requirements aren’t in place to improve the waters.
“This is sort of a big ‘To Do’ list of waters that we need to make sure are healthy,” says Slivka.
So, how does the Missouri Clean Water Commission decide whether a river or lake is impaired?
“Water can be impaired for a number of reasons,” Slivka says. “It can have industrial pollutants in it. It can have nitrogen or phosphorous in there. Any time where the water quality is sub-par for one reason or another can be considered an impaired water.”
The Clean Water Commission wants more information before deciding whether Wilsons Creek in Greene County and Cave Spring Branch, also in southern Missouri, should be included on the list. Concerns about bacteria have crept up in Wilsons Creek, while Cave Springs has suffered from nutrient run-off.
The commission will submit its list to the Environmental Protection Agency in the next few days.
For more information about the impaired waters list, go to the DNR website.