View Full Version : Lead Mine Waste in Ozark Rivers

07-11-2005, 04:30 PM
The following is copied from another website, but I have called my contact on the Water Protection Commission and he has verified this information. This will be decided by the legislature and eventually the governor. Every concerned citizen needs to contact Governor Blunt's office and your legislators ASAP and strongly condemn this proposal to lower our water quality standards so that lead mines can dump their waste into MO waters.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Missouri politicians
who promote the Lead Industry are proposing to allow WASTE WATER from the floors of lead mines to be PUMPED INTO THE TRIBUTARIES of Missouiri's Ozark Scenic Riverways (Current, Jacks Fork & Eleven Point). Mine water contains LEAD, ARSENIC, CADMIUM, MOTOR OIL, AMMONIUM NITRATE, AND UNTREATED SEWAGE. "All that good stuff that's great for water quality, the environment & your health".

Any actual mining in the Scenic Riverways could lower water tables as is happening now in the Viburnum, Missouri area. This could adversely affect springs and wells.

Secondary contact use means "diminished water quality".

Wading, fishing, floating, boating, canoeing, stream team activities, and such would be considered secondary contact uses.

Current whole body contact standards:

Fecal coliform 200 colonies/100 ml water
E Coli 126 colonies/100 ml water

"Secondary contact" standards "proposed" by Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the ?Clean Water? Commission:

Fecal coliform 1,800 colonies/100 ml water
E Coli 1,134 colonies/100 ml water

This is a nine fold increase in the number of "harmful bacteria" that would be allowed in the rivers! With 2,800 stream teams & an estimated 56,000 volunteers regularly wading and working in Missouris rivers & streams, such an incease in bacteria would put these people at risk, as well as anyone who uses the river for any recreational activity.

These "are" your rivers; they are "supposedly" National Scenic Riverways. Think the politicians & the big dogs of the lead industry will be out there paddling, fishing, swimming, camping, wading in them?

Contact : Marlene Kirchner
Clean Water Commission
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, Mo. 65102

Contact: Bonnie Liscek
US EPA Region 7
901 N 5th Street
Kansas City, Mo. 66101

Contact: Missouri Department of Natural Resource

Here is the Forum that discusses this (Arkansas Canoe Club)


07-12-2005, 10:56 AM
The following is an excerpt from an email I received from Phil Schroeder with MDNR concerning the proposed rule changes. Note that he does not address the change in water quality standards directly.

"The proposed change that is raising concern is the removal of the overall prohibition on certain discharges within the watershed of a high quality water. The current rule allows for discharges from domestic (human sewage) wastewater treatment systems and mine dewatering. Therefore discharges from mine dewatering is already allowed under current rule. The current rule disallows discharges (including stormwater) from other activities such as sawmills, and aggregate (sand, gravel or limestone) processing. Instead a strict prohibition on these discharges, the department is proposing these discharges only be allowed when non-discharging options are infeasible, AND the discharge is minor, and therefore presents no likelihood of affecting the quality fo the protected streams. This will make all discharges subject to the same standards under the antidegradation rule.

The department is receiving comments that degradation might occur despite these strict requirements. Those that are commenting believe that insufficient means are in place to ensure that the regulated activities control their discharges to the maximum extent. The fear is that the department does not have the means to watch these activities closely enough. They want the added assurance of a prohibition of any discharge.

Taking the position of disallowing any discharge (no matter how minor) within the watersheds of high quality waters will have a significant impact on the local business and economy. However, at the same time, the economy of these regions of the state depend greatly on the recreation that is attracted to the quality environment. The balance between the social-economic and environmental issues seems to be achieved by imposing strict, yet reasonable restrictions on discharges. The use of the antidegradation rule instead of the strict prohibition seems to match that goal."

I'm posting this in the interest of fairness...to get both sides of the story. I plan to question Mr. Schroeder on the proposed changes in water quality standards as quoted in the original post on this thread. If he answers me directly, I will post his reply here.

In his email, he also said that the public comment period ends on July 14th. So everyone needs to contact MDNR and voice your opposition immediately.

07-12-2005, 05:06 PM
The following is the response I received from Mr. Schroeder regarding the original post on this thread, which he had not seen before I emailed it to him last night.

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to this notice. I had not seen it before now. It creates the perception that the proposed rules intend to lessen the protection on streams. That simply isn't correct.

I hope my previous email on the antidegradation requirements explains how protection will be continued on our high quality waters and their tributaries. Under the proposed rule, no discharge will be allowed to lower the quality of these waters as implied by the notice.

There may be other underlying issues resulting in the concerns expressed in the notice, such as the long-term implications of allowing the exploration for mineral deposits in the Viburnum area. These implications may reach far beyond just water quality issues and I can't address those. I can say that the changes in the water quality standards have no connection with these other issues and are solely focused on the need and importance of protecting the physical, chemical and biological integrity of our State's waterways. Again, the department will not permit any discharge that would jeopardize that integrity.

The notice is correct on the bacteria standards proposed for "secondary contact" activities. The standards are similar to what is found in other states for the protection of "secondary contact" recreation (that would include any activity that brings people in contact with the stream, but does not lead to ingestion of the water or inundation of a person's head, such as through swimming, snorkeling, skiing, etc.) The risk of bacterial or other pathenogenic ailments are less when the exposure is less , allowing for higher limits. The risk is minimized substantially for "secondary users" when the bacteria is limited at the levels described below. And, until now, streams with secondary contact activities did not have a bacterial standard. This rule establishes the first standard to minimize the risk to persons who who wade, fish, collect invertebrates, or in another way step into a stream for reasons other than swimming. And, the bacteria standard defaults to126 colonies per 100 milliliters on all classified streams to protect swimming unless shown it is shown through a Use Attainability Analysis to be too shallow for swimming (less than 1 meter deep at the deepest point within the stream, or less than one-half meter deep on average).

I am a bit confused. When I spoke to a key official who does not want to be named with the Water Protection Commission, he indicated to me that this proposal DID in fact include what he perceived to be a significant decrease in water quality standards and that, in his opinion, this was a matter of big business exerting strong political pressure on MDNR to get them to compromise protections now in place.

07-15-2005, 11:16 AM
OK, after researching this very thoroughly for the past several days and talking to more experts with the state and with EPA it looks like the only REAL step backwards in terms of protection proposed in these rule changes is that industries like mills and quarries could be allowed to discharge water into Ozark streams just like mines and wastewater treatment plants are allowed to under the current regs. These discharges are only allowed if there is "minimal risk of harm" to the stream in question. The opposition to this change is based on the assumption that MDNR does not possess sufficient resources to properly monitor said discharges, so opponents would like to see the total ban remain in effect.
On the issue of the e. coli levels and such, this is actually an IMPROVEMENT in protection levels because secondary use waters are currently UNPROTECTED. And the proposed contaminant levels are well within the standards set by other states and the EPA guidelines.

So it seems there was some misinformation in the original bulletin published first on the Arkansas Canoe Club website...probably born of a misinterpretation of the proposed rule changes.

I stand with the naysayers still...on the issue of allowing other industries to discharge into our streams. They haven't been allowed to for years. Why change now?