The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved new state water quality standards that add specific pollutant limits to 90,000 miles of previously unprotected rivers and streams and 2,100 lakes across Missouri. The Clean Water Act requires that all water bodies be made safe for swimming and fishing, but Missouri went years without classifying some of its water bodies or saying whether they were safe.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources estimated the rules approved by the state last November could cost wastewater treatment plants as much as $1.2 billion in capital costs. The state agency estimated tens of millions more in additional yearly operating costs. However, the EPA didn’t approve the state’s submission in its entirety.