(2008) Bennett Spring Watershed - Water Quality Monitoring


Poorly functioning on-site septic (wastewater) systems are a major contributor of nonpoint source pollution in Ozark streams. Shallow soils, karst features, and a lack of maintenance are often cited as reasons these systems fail in this region. Due to the importance of tourism to the local economy, many communities are concerned with protecting their water resources. Bennett Spring is a major economic generator for Dallas and Laclede counties, and local community leaders are concerned about the ways in which on-site wastewater systems impact the water quality of Bennett Spring. The Bennett Spring Branch Watershed (43 sq. mi - HUC 10290110030005) is located in the Niangua River Basin (1,029 sq. mi). Bennett Spring lies near the east edge of Dallas County with a recharge area that includes portions of Dallas and Laclede counties.

The Southwest Missouri Council of Governments (SMCOG), in cooperation with the Bennett Springs Area Water Protection Committee (BSWPC), received a Clean Water Act 604(b) sub-grant 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.


  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,
  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, and
  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

OEWRI is responsible for the water quality monitoring component of the project. The specific goals of the water quality monitoring phase are as follows:

  1. Use the watershed approach and most up-to-date estimates of groundwater flow direction and recharge to determine water quality,
  2. Establish a baseflow sampling network and monitor 14 sites monthly for at least one year, and
  3. Interpret water quality trends and assess the spatial variability of water quality within the recharge area.