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Missouri Approves Sweeping Revisions Of Clean Water Standards

Missouri's new clean water standards will protect tens-of-thousands of additional miles of rivers and streams.
Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri's new clean water standards will protect tens-of-thousands of additional miles of rivers and streams.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. with quote by Sara Parker Pauley; updated at 3:41 p.m. with quote by Lorin Crandall.

The Missouri Clean Water Commission has approved a sweeping regulatory overhaul of the state's water quality standards.

In a vote held on Wednesday morning, the governor-appointed seven-person panel unanimously approved revised regulations that greatly expand the number of protected water bodies in the state. An additional 2,100 lakes and 90,000 miles of rivers and streams will gain protection under the law, including specific limits on bacteria and other pollutants.

The director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Sara Parker Pauley said the changes should significantly improve the state's water quality.

"You're looking at potential implications for drinking water, if that particular water supply is used for drinking water," Parker Pauley said. "It certainly will have benefit for aquatic life living in those bodies of water, and we'll have protections from a public health standpoint as well."

But the Missouri Coalition for the Environment's Lorin Crandall said the measure's passage is bitter-sweet because it does not go far enough.

"You know, we're not satisfied that this rule fulfills the promises of the Clean Water Act," Crandall said. "But we are really glad to see Missouri moving forward and attempting to bring our program up to par with what's going on with the rest of the country, [because] we've been way behind for way too long."

Thirteen years in the making, the new rule aims to bring Missouri's water quality standards into compliance with the federal law

The latest version of the new water quality standards can be found here.

The Commission also approved new effluent regulations to limit E. coli contamination and update water monitoring procedures. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources expects the new rules to go into effect at the end of February.

Follow Sarah Skiöld-Hanlin on Twitter@Skihan

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2013 St. Louis Public Radio

Science reporter Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio documentaries at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France. LeCapra reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2010 to 2016.
Sarah Skiöld-Hanlin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.