Cleaning Missouri's Rivers, Creeks and Streams

There are some big decisions about how clean Missouri's rivers, creeks and streams need to be. The Clean Water Act of 1972 set in motion a plan to see that all streams were swimmable and fishable. This promise was never kept. Here we are in 2013 still debating whether a stream deserves consideration to be clean.

Far too often our streams and creeks are used as the recipients of untreated and un-sanitized sewage effluent. Every stream deserves to be cared for and every attempt should be made to preserve the integrity of stream quality. The streams in question in St. Charles County are the Dardenne Creek, Spencer Creek and McCoy Creek.

For years the Greenway Network has been striving to protect the Dardenne Creek. The Greenway Network adopted this stream as their monitoring stream when they became a member of the Missouri Stream Team Program after the "Great Flood of 93". Since then, the stream has been assaulted by several sewage spills, one deliberate dumping of over 9 million gallons of raw sewage producing the largest fish kill on record in the state, and Dardenne Creek continues to receive enormous amounts of soil sediments flushed off by poorly managed land disturbance sites. Never the less, this stream continues to be one of the major aesthetic focal points for the county.

We are still supporting plans to develop a Dardenne Greenway between Highway 40 and Highway 70. Several foresighted communities have made agreements with developers to preserve land along the Dardenne Corridor for future parks and trail systems. Each year in the spring the Greenway Network sponsors Mission: Clean Stream" and partners with the cities of St. Peters, Cottleville, O'Fallon, Dardenne Prairie, Wentzville, St. Charles and St. Charles County to clean up the Dardenne, Spencer, Boshert,Cole and Peruque Creeks. These projects have been met with enormous public support.

The Dardenne Creek is visited by fisherman, swimmers and hundreds of those who just like to roam along the banks enjoying the natural corridor. The creek meanders around and through some of the most populated areas in the county and development continues to move westward within this watershed. Since 1993 many schools in the county use the Dardenne as a site for environmental and ecological studies and consider the creek an "outdoor classroom resource". This being the fact, why would we want to consider not treating the bacteria found in the sewage effluent released into this stream?

If a stream is classified for "Whole Body Contact", the stream can only have a fecal coliform count of two hundred colonies per one hundred millileters of water sample (200/100ml) or a E. coli count of one hundred and twenty six colonies per one hundred milliliters of water sample (126/100 ml). Untreated and un-sanitized effluent released from sewage treatment plants can be found to contribute bacteria samples in the thousands.

The Greenway Network urges the citizens to make comments concerning these exemption petitions to the Clean Water Commission.

Marlene Kirchner, Clean Water Commission Secretary, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102

It is important for you to mention your recreational use in the stream or statements where you know of people are using the stream for recreation. Your comments are needed to maintain the quality of our streams. Please join the Greenway Network and support high water quality for our streams.

For more information call: Greenway Network -636-498-0772. If you would like to attend an information session concerning this issue call: 636-498-0772. We can have clean water if we get involved with this Greenway effort.

P.S. There are many streams throughout the state that are listed and still could be given exemptions. This would permit the release of unsanitary effluent into the stream and possibly raising the level of bacteria to high for full body contact. One of these may be your favorite stream. To check this out- Check to see if your favorite stream is on the proposed UAA list by going to:

http://dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/wqstandards/uaa/ under the Listing of Targeted Water Bodies for Use Attainability Analysis You can check out the streams being targeted by county.