The EPA today issued its decision on Missouri's water quality standards, approving how the state categorized 244 streams, rivers and lakes.
That decision means water bodies newly designated for high contact uses like swimming will need more protection.
Some sewage treatment plants, municipalities and others will need to start treating their wastewater discharges.
EPA water quality manager John DeLashmit says the agency didn't agree with the state's categorization of 23 waterways, including the lower River Des Peres near St. Louis.
“The state proposed protecting it only for boating, canoeing, and wading," DeLashmit said. "And because of the public comments that we've received and reviewed, we are disapproving that decision and asking the state to protect it at a higher level.”
Those public comments said people are using the River Des Peres for swimming. The same is true for the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
DeLashmit says the EPA will work with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to set new, more protective standards for both rivers.