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Mississippi River remains outside of stricter regulations

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The Missouri Clean Water Commission Wednesday voted not to include a stretch of the Mississippi River under tougher water regulations.

The thirty-mile stretch extends from the North Riverview Park to the confluence with the Meramec River.

Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment Ted Heisel says the designation will be revisited in three years by federal law.

This is not over and hopefully people out in the public feel that we need to move toward a point where the Mississippi is clean enough to go in and this will continue to be discussed, Heisel said. I would encourage the public to continue to weigh in with the Clean Water Commission.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District spokesman Lance LeComb says the designation would have meant millions of dollars in changes to treatment plants along the river.

This decision is recognition of the millions if not billions of dollars of rate payer's dollars that are at stake here, LeComb said. And it protects our ability to set out long-term priorities based our community's most pressing health and safety issues.

But Heisel says a schedule could be worked out to help MSD meet stricter bacterial controls.

The commission did restore about 200 miles of the river below St. Louis under the new state standards.

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