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Stream designations could affect sewage treatment

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The state of Missouri is considering which streams and rivers in the state are recreational.

That would determine how much sewer treatment plants would have to disinfect discharge into certain streams.

In the St. Louis County area, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, Creve Coeur Creek, Big Tavern Creek and Wildhorse Creek are being considered for exemption. An exemption would mean plants don't have to disinfect as much.

Ted Heisel, director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, hopes people will tell the state where they swim and boat.

"If no one comments to DNR then they may wind up making a decision based on partial or no information about the recreational value of various streams around the state," Heisel said Monday.

A settlement between the coalition and state earlier this year meant that all lakes and streams would be protected for swimming. But federal law allows local entities to do an analysis to show a stream is not used recreationally and thus doesn't need protection.

DNR is taking public comment until July 14th to find out whether people swim, wade, or fish in some areas seeking exemption from the new water quality rules.