(2017) Wilson Creek - Wastewater Exfiltration Sources


Wilson Creek drains the City of Springfield, Missouri and portions of unincorporated Greene County, and is listed on the 303(d) impaired water body list for bacterial contamination for consistently exceeding Missouri Department of Natural Resources water quality standards for Whole Body Contact Recreation (WBCR) Class-B designation of 206 MPN/100 mL.

Wilson Creek and the James River (located downstream) are also included in a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for nutrients, which can be influenced by exfiltrating wastewater. To better understand the influence of exfiltrating wastewater on Wilson Creek and to identify areas within the sewer system that may need maintenance, the City of Springfield, Missouri contracted with the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute (OEWRI) at Missouri State University to perform a pilot study to determine if water quality trends could be used to locate points of exfiltration of sewage from leaking sewer lines.

The purpose of this study is to quantify variations in wastewater-specific indicators at base flow along a 5.7 km segment of Wilson Creek, beginning at West Farm Road 150 and going upstream to the confluence of Jordan and Fassnight Creeks.


  1. Use a rapid field-based screening protocol that collects information at closely spaced intervals using a multi-parameter probe to access the variability in temperature (T), SC, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and Cl to identify potential exfiltration locations;
  2. Collect water quality grab samples to be analyzed in the laboratory for TP, TN, Cl, and E. coli concentrations at stream locations where initial screening indicated high concentrations of exfiltration indicators to verify and more clearly identify specific wastewater input locations;
  3. Make specific recommendations to the City of Springfield and its engineers regarding site prioritization based on results from this exfiltration risk assessment.



The City of Springfield, Missouri

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