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US EPA Okays MO Water Standards – With Important Exceptions

Megan Lynch
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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – The US Environmental Protection Agency says Missouri is making strides to improve the water quality of it’s lakes, streams and rivers.  Yet the agency is still taking issue with how the state wants to regulate two major bodies of water in the St. Louis region.

The federal agency has okayed most of the state’s guidelines outlined in a 3-year review, including tougher standards for E Coli bacteria found in places where people swim.   “If there is a discharge by a wastewater treatment plant to some of those waters, disinfection will be prompted.  There will be many less pathogens, virus, parasites in the water as a result of that,” explained US EPA Regional Water Quality Chief John DeLashmit during a conference call with reporters.

While federal regulators have approved tougher requirements for dozens of Missouri’s water bodies, standards for the Mississippi River through St. Louis are still in question.

DeLashmit says his agency doesn’t agree that stretch of the Mississippi only meet water quality standards for boating, as the state had recommended in the three-year plan.  But DeLashmit says that could change.  “EPA made a determination on that particular water body, that segment that flows through St. Louis, about five days before the state submitted these rules.  So the state did not have time to consider the EPA’s determination in this rule making.”

Missouri officials have since proposed water quality requirements for the Mississippi River at St. Louis be good enough for swimming, but would not necessarily classify the river for that use.

The EPA is also taking issue with Missouri designating the River Des Peres for limited body contact.  DeLashmit tells KMOX they’ve had public input indicating the channel is sometimes used for swimming.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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