Programs help keep area waterways clean and safe

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Financial assistance for septic pumping and replacement services is available to those who live in the Upper White River Watershed, including residents of Cassville and a portion of the surround area. Funding is provided through Ozarks Water Watch, Table Rock Water Quality Inc., and the James River Basin Partnership.

Gopala Borchelt, Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc., executive director, said that area community members should consider the opportunity to save money, protect their health and save water quality.

"Getting your septic tank pumped out on a three- to five-year regular basis is the best way to maintain your individual waste water treatment system," said Borchelt. "Both maintenance, and if needed, replacement of a failing septic system helps keep the raw sewage out of the environment where it can contaminate your drinking water wells or surface streams and the lake.

"Preventative maintenance of your tank can also prevent costly repairs or replacement in the future, thus saving you money in the long run," continued Borchelt. "Like anything else, such as your home or car, the septic treatment system needs regular maintenance to continue working properly, and you need it to work properly for your own health, as well as the health of your community and environment."

Area community members interested in financial assistance for septic pumping services should call Melissa Bettes, of the James River Basin Partnership, at 417-836-4847 prior to scheduling the services. The program offers a $50 rebate to assist with pumping costs.

Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc., is working with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the James River Basin Partnership to promote the program and encourage community members to schedule regular septic tank maintenance. The program has helped over 2,000 people with rebates and information on proper septic system maintenance.

A non-interest loan and grant program is available for homeowners who have failing or leaking septic tanks that need to be repaired or replaced. For more information on eligibility, call Ozarks Water Watch at 417-739-5001.

The repair and replacement program, which has helped over 70 homeowners with replacement costs, is offered through a grant that Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc., has received from MDC and funds obtained by Ozarks Water Watch through the Missouri Department of Nature Resources (DNR) State Revolving Fund program.

The map accompanying this story indicates Barry County residents who are eligible for the septic pumping and repair and replacement programs.

In addition to offering the financial assistance programs, Ozarks Water Watch, Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc., and the James River Basic Partnership work with MDC and DNR to educate community members about safe and clean surface and ground water in the tri-lakes area. Efforts by the groups have potentially prevented nearly 550 pounds of nitrogen, or ammonia, and 120 pounds of phosphorus per year from entering the tributaries and Table Rock Lake.

"This amount of nutrient has the potential to provide for the growth of 12,000 pounds of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, per year," said Borchelt. "In excessive concentration, blue-green algae can cause low dissolved oxygen in the water, causing fish kills as we saw in the lower part of the James River in 1999.

"This consequence is only found in extreme cases of high nutrient population, but Table Rock Lake Water Quality and others are working to bring awareness of this possibility and monetary help to prevent pollution to our valuable water resources," added Borchelt.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: