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EPA Region 7 Issues Decisions on Missouri’s 2009 Water Quality Standards; Agency Approves Majority of Standards, Will Work with Missouri on Those Remaining

Release Date: 08/17/2011
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Aug. 17, 2011) - EPA Region 7 issued a series of decisions today approving the vast majority of the State of Missouri’s 2009 Water Quality Standards package, acting on a court-ordered deadline and in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act. Overall, EPA is approving MDNR’s proposed designated use changes for 244 Missouri water bodies, and disapproving 23 others. The Agency will continue to work with the state to ensure that rigorous science will be applied on the remaining water bodies to ensure adequate protection of aquatic resources and public health.

EPA’s issuance of a formal decision letter comes in response to a complex package of water quality standards revisions that were proposed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in November 2009. The letter also resolves claims from a federal lawsuit filed in August 2010 by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, which sought EPA’s action on the standards.

EPA is also approving numeric nutrient criteria for 25 Missouri lakes, affording them a level of protection necessary to fully support aquatic life and recreational uses. The Agency is disapproving the remaining portions of MDNR’s numeric nutrient criteria, finding that the state was unable to demonstrate that the criteria values and the process for establishing the criteria is adequately protective of aquatic life uses, as required by the Clean Water Act.

“EPA has committed to endorse state-based plans that craft effective tools to cut the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution fouling our waters, and this action now supplies Missouri the advice needed to return to work protecting its vital waters,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said. “EPA looks forward to continue partnering with Missouri, consistent with the Agency's clear preference for state leadership instead of federal declarations.”

EPA’s decision letter provides a more detailed description of the Agency’s review and the basis for this action. The decision letter, including a complete list of approved and disapproved designated use changes for Missouri waters, is available at

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