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EPA Approves Majority of Missouri’s Water Quality Standards

Release Date: 02/23/2007
Contact Information: Martin Kessler, (913) 551-7236,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Feb. 22, 2007) – EPA has approved most of the provisions of the new and revised Missouri water quality standards submitted to EPA by the state. The approved provisions are now effective for implementation purposes under the Clean Water Act.
EPA commends the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for its diligent work in preparing the water quality standards revisions, which will further Missouri’s ability to protect its resources.

EPA received Missouri’s complete submission of its new and revised water quality standards for review and approval on March 28, 2006, pursuant to the Clean Water Act. Under the Act, states are required to review their water quality standards no less frequently than every three years and submit new or revised standards to EPA.

The March 28 submittal included revisions to the Missouri water quality standards approved September 7, 2005, by the Missouri Clean Water Commission and published in the Missouri Code of State Regulations November 30, 2005.

With this action, EPA is approving the following provisions of the new or revised water quality standards:
  • New and revised definitions to clarify the application of water quality standards
  • New language to help guide future development of wetland water quality criteria
  • New language pertaining to the water quality antidegradation policy
  • Updates to the toxics, metals, and ammonia water quality criteria for protection of aquatic life
  • New language giving dischargers the opportunity to apply for a temporary suspension from bacteria standards during wet weather events
  • Revised legal descriptions for classified lakes and streams
  • Revisions to reference streams, identifying additional streams and including legal descriptions
EPA is approving part of a provision that would allow Missouri to include compliance schedules in discharge permits to meet the water quality criteria. However, EPA is disapproving another part of that provision that is inconsistent with the Clean Water Act and federal regulations. This part would have allowed Missouri to give dischargers compliance schedules solely to study whether recreational uses are attainable and whether disinfection is necessary to protect those uses. The recreational use designation is associated with certain water quality standards that are protective of swimming, boating and wading.

This partial disapproval recognizes that the Act does not allow compliance schedules to be granted solely for time to study whether meeting the water quality criteria is necessary. The Act does allow such studies to be conducted by dischargers during the term of the compliance schedule, as long as dischargers meet the permit conditions to achieve compliance with the criteria by the end of that schedule.

This is the third EPA action on the March 28 water quality standards submission from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. EPA issued a decision that addressed some revisions to the water quality standards April 28, 2006, and made a determination on recreational uses for Missouri’s waters October 31, 2006.

EPA’s February 20 decision letter provides a more detailed description of EPA’s review and the basis for this action. To obtain an electronic copy of this decision letter, please contact Martin Kessler by phone or e-mail (see contact information above).
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