The department uses the Missouri Clean Water Information System (MoCWIS) - Water Quality Standards (WQS) application to track, report and maintain a detailed history of surface water protections throughout the state. The coordination of data within MoCWIS and a geographic information system (GIS) provide additional benefits including correction of inaccuracies, foresight of implementation issues and increased use of science to revise existing, and adopt new, WQS.
Additionally, MoCWIS-WQS and GIS allow the department to use systems, such as online searchable databases and interactive maps, to transparently report changes of surface water protections to stakeholders. Permittees, the general public and organizations can view current protections under law, and proposed changes to protections, in a visual setting with attribute-rich features that help disseminate complex regulatory information in an easy-to-understand, user-friendly setting.
Lastly, the use of MoCWIS-WQS and GIS provides the department with a streamlined process to report triennial reviews of the state’s WQS to EPA. MoCWIS and GIS also provide the department with the ability to withhold revisions, keeping those standards that are disapproved by EPA from being used in permits and other programs.
The integration of MoCWIS-WQS with the rulemaking process, along with the administration of online systems such as WQS Public Search, provides benefits to the public and to the department by tracking and reporting WQS and water quality protections. These new systems allow the department to anticipate future applications of WQS before they are effective in rule. Furthermore, because of these systems the department has been able to increase the level of public participation by making the WQS process more transparent and understandable.
In conjunction with MoCWIS, GIS is also a vital tool for spatially maintaining, tracking and implementing WQS. For example, when a designated use change occurs, the change must be tracked throughout the rulemaking process, reported so that stakeholders have the opportunity to review and comment and later implemented through the permitting process. When these changes are reported within a GIS interface, stakeholders are able to see the revisions in a GIS data table, query the different changes according to interest, and visually compare the changes on a map.
The use of GIS and the MoCWIS business applications are beneficial to the public and to the department for tracking the location and type of water protection attained through the Clean Water Act. The automatic coordination of MoCWIS with other business systems such as WQA and online systems such as ePermitting provide additional benefits. Because of these systems, public participation has increased.