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State removes River Des Peres from stricter regulations

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Stricter water regulations will not be required for the River Des Peres, an urban portion of the Mississippi River, and Maline Creek.

Missouri's Clean Water Commission voted on new water regulations Wednesday meant to make the state's rivers and streams swimmable and fishable.

Commission Chairman Thomas Herrmann says studies done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife found the Mississippi's fast river velocity doesn't lend itself to swimming. "That and the excess barge traffic and boat traffic in St. Louis area amount to great hazard for swimmers," Herrmann added.

"There's no documented use other than the crazy damn fools who water ski on New Year's Day at the Arch."

Herrmann says the commission has directed more study on the streams' use.

But the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Department of Natural Resources gave no indication the three would be removed from the list of recreational waters, so the public had little chance to comment.

"It means MSD and any other dischargers can keep releasing sewage that hasn't been disinfected to kill ecoli and other pathogens," said the coalition's Ted Heisel.

But Herrmann says studies on the rivers' use were posted and available for public comment. And the commission also voted the requirements for a long list of rivers and streams that will now require stricter bacteria control, meaning sewer districts likely will have to disinfect discharge there.

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