Element 6 - Strategic Planning for Future Development

Strategic Summary

In accordance with Section 303(c)(1) of the federal Clean Water Act, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will initiate at least once every three years a review of Missouri's Water Quality Standards regulation at 10 CSR 20-7.031. These reviews will evaluate the need to update or revise state standards in order to remain consistent with state and federal law. The review will also ensure Missouri's water quality standards continue to reflect the best available science and support sound water quality management policies that improve and protect the unique and diverse water resources of the state.

During each triennial review the department will solicit comments from interested parties and members of the public on any aspect of the Water Quality Standards regulations. At a minimum, the department will consider revisions to those standards disapproved by EPA.

The department will also consider any newly recommended federal water quality criteria that have been established under Section 304(a) of the federal Clean Water Act. The department also foresees additional water quality standards development in the area of tiered aquatic life use designations, regional water quality criteria (including numeric nutrient criteria for lakes and streams), wetland classifications and criteria development, use attainability analyses and site-specific criteria developed by the department or interested parties.

  • Proposed changes to 10 CSR 20-7.031 will take place through the regulatory adoption process as provided by Sections 536.016, 640.015, and 644.026 Missouri Revised Statutes. Prior to adoption, notice will be published and a public hearing will be held to receive formal comments on the proposed revisions. Final action to adopt any revisions to the water quality standards will be conducted by the Missouri Clean Water Commission.

Periodic review and revisions of Missouri's water quality standards provides both environmental and economic benefits to the state, the regulated community and the general public. Revisions intended to refine designated uses, water quality criteria and other Clean Water Act requirements provides more realistic and science-based water quality goals that recognize and protect the wide-diversity of aquatic habitat and uses found in Missouri's waters. This translates into regulatory compliance costs and, resulting environmental benefits, at the level required for a given habitat and the biota that reside there.

The department’s Water Pollution Control Branch will focus in upcoming years on establishing schedules of compliance in permits for water quality based requirements where appropriate, consistent with the Water Protection Program's schedule of compliance document. Permits will continue to include affordability information regarding publicly owned treatment works when new requirements are included in the permit. This affordability information will be used to substantiate portions of the timeframe allowed via the schedule of compliance. Affordability findings will continue to evolve as better information regarding the cost of treatment technologies and consumer rates are developed.

As permits are synchronized on an eight digit HUC level, the department will act on those opportunities that will allow individual permit schedules of compliance for water quality requirements that are consistent across the watershed. Watershed wide water quality improvements will result in quantifiable benefits to water.