TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the state regulate the Lake of the Ozarks?

Saturday, January 3, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 2:06 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced his clean water proposal to improve the water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks as well as other “distressed” bodies of water.

If passed, the proposal will give the Missouri Clean Water Commission and the Department of Natural Resources the authority to prevent new pollution sources from contaminating distressed bodies of water, according to a press release from the governor.

His administration would designate the Lake of the Ozarks as distressed, based on the decades-long record of historical data showing high levels of bacteria and the closure of public beaches several times this summer.

The water quality survey of the Lake of the Ozarks found many facilities in violation of their waste water permits, 41 of which have been referred to the Department of National Resource's Water Protection Program for "further enforcement action."

The ultimate goal will be to replace all septic tanks with sewer systems; however, installing sewers at the lake would be costly. For now, the state will assume responsibility to inspect existing septic tanks in hopes of curbing some pollution, according to previous Missourian reporting.

This issue of where the money to finance this proposal will come from is key because there are problems with many of the residential septic tanks in the area.

If the state takes responsibility for cleaning up the Lake, taxpayers are likely to take the brunt of financial responsibility for repairing or replacing failing septic tanks.

Another option to finance the lake cleanup would be raising the property taxes of the people who own residences and land near the Lake of the Ozarks because they have the most vested interest in the cleanliness of the water.

Shutting down the 41 facilities that fail to comply with their permits as opposed to curbing some pollution would also motivate these individuals to repair their own facilities.

Should the state place regulations on the water quality of the Lake of the Ozarks? or Should property owners take responsibility for fixing their septic tanks?

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