Poorly functioning on-site wastewate
r systems are perceived as a major contributor of nonpoint source pollution to Ozarks streams. Shallow soils, karst features, and lack of maintenance are often cited as reasons these systems fail in this region leading to ground and surface water contamination. Due to the importance of tourism to the local economy, many communities are concerned with protecting their water resources. Bennett Spring State Park is a major economic generator for Dallas and Laclede counties, and local community leaders are concerned about how on-site wastewater systems impact the water quality of Bennett Spring.
The Southwest Missouri Council of Governments (SMCOG) in cooperation with the Bennett Springs Area Water Protection Committee (BSWPC) has received a Clean Water Act 604(b) subgrant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to address on-site wastewater issues in the watershed.
The objectives of the subgrant are to:
1. Conduct a wastewater system feasibility study of the project area to determine the most cost-effective wastewater system that will meet the area’s needs.
2. Create a plan to implement a wastewater district within, and under the authority of, the existing water district.
3. Provide for water quality education to enhance public awareness of the area’s water quality issues and to build grassroots support for implementing a wastewater system that sustains the quality of the environment.
4. Provide for water quality assessment and monitoring in the project area to establish a baseline for determining water quality and future water quality needs and activities.
The Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute (OEWRI) at Missouri State University is responsible for the water quality assessment and monitoring portion of this project. The specific goals of the water quality monitoring are:
1. Use the watershed approach and most up-to-date estimates of groundwater flow direction and recharge to determine water quality. Available historical water quality and groundwater data will also be used in the assessment.
2. Establish a baseflow sampling network and monitor 14 sites monthly for at least one year.
3. Interpret water quality trends and assess the spatial variability of water quality within the recharge area.
This report summarizes and organizes data collected for this project and interprets water quality of Bennett Spring and contributing recharge area watersheds, analyzes downstream seasonal trends, and make recommendations for further action.
Owen, Marc R. and Pavlowsky, Robert T., "Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis of the Bennett Spring Watershed and Recharge Area: Final Report" (2008). OEWRI Technical Reports. 61.