Hinkson Creek clean-up efforts gets boost from state, EPA

Monday, September 3, 2012 | 5:21 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA ― MU has received $253,800 from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to help fund a study of the best ways to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution in Hinkson Creek.

The project aims to study the effectiveness of pollution prevention techniques on water quality and how those techniques can be implemented. The entire stream system will be evaluated, including Middle and Lower Hinkson and its watershed and runoff systems. Efforts are being concentrated on techniques known as best-management practices.

The MU-led project staff, in collaboration with the natural resources department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the City of Columbia, will monitor and assess the performance of various practices to determine the best ways to reduce runoff and improve Hinkson Creek's water quality. Results will be used to educate students, engineers and contractors.

In January 2011, the EPA finalized a total maximum daily load for pollutants in Hinkson Creek and recommended the city, Boone County and MU reduce runoff into the creek by 39.6 percent. The local agencies balked at that suggestion, however, and eventually reached a compromise with the EPA and the natural resources department that called for "adaptive management" of the creek and the appointment of three task forces to develop and oversee new strategies for improving the creek.

The goal for the new study is to finish by March 31, 2014. The long-term goal is to not only reduce creek pollution but to re-establish the area’s biological ecosystems.

Curators at MU have pledged $169,267 over the course of the project, bringing total donations to $423,067. The EPA also is contributing under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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