The Shoal Creek Watershed Improvement Group (SCWIG) reminds residents of northwestern Barry County that grant funds are available to pay the majority of costs associated with having septic tanks pumped and for repair or replacement of septic systems that are verified to be failing.
"Eligible landowners' cost-share for septic tank pumping and repair or replacement of a home-sewage treatment system ranges from 50 to 90 percent, depending on location within the upper Shoal Creek Watershed," said Drew Holt, project coordinator.
SCWIG's grant will also pay 100 percent of the costs for having a landowner's private drinking water well tested for the presence of bacterial contamination.
By 2007, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that a total of 25 miles of streams in the upper Shoal Creek Watershed were "impaired" due to excess fecal coliform bacteria.
"The term 'impaired' to DNR means these streams did not meet their designated uses," said Holt.
"DNA tracking research conducted by the University of Missouri in a study from 2001 to 2003 determined that the sources of bacteria in these streams come from three primary sources, humans, cattle and poultry," said Holt, "although horse, goats, dogs and wildlife are also sources of bacteria in streams."
SCWIG's proposed Watershed Management Plan urges common-sense actions by all landowners to reduce bacteria and nutrients from all sources to streams through voluntary and effective use of BMPs (best management practices).
In addition to septic system maintenance, repair and replacement, SCWIG promotes shaded off-stream watering sources for livestock in pastures adjacent to streams, fertilizer application based on soil tests and pasture or crop needs and public education, outreach and community involvement.
The upper Shoal Creek Watershed is located south of Monett, west of Purdy and Butterfield, north of Exeter and east of Wheaton.
For more information about SCWIG's water quality improvement plans and projects to protect the streams within the upper Shoal Creek Watershed, call Holt at 417-838-1939 or Dr. Eugene Miekley, SCWIG Board president, at 417-652-7214.