Illness and streams: correlation in questioning
October 06, 2009
No doubt many of you have seen this or are aware of this article. This presents a very dark cloud for the DNR and the Nixon administration and we can only hope that something is done about the situation for all our waters of Missouri before next year. We have a problem and we do not know what problems are being created by these polluted lakes and streams.

Does it seem rational that the Missouri Department of Health should start requesting--demanding--that people seeing a doctor or emergency room with bacterial related illnesses be asked a few simple questions?

Have you been at the lake or in the streams? When were you in these waters? What body of water were you in? These are very simple questions that could counter the popular notion that we have these high levels but no one seems to be getting sick. The simple reason that no one knows is because no one asks the question about water-related contact.

How long do we need to bring this question up? When will the state and county governments start looking for the true effects of tainted waters. Our esteemed health care facilities should be on board with this unless they prefer the monetary rewards of treating people that are getting sick from the water. I do not know.

It is amazing that Jasper County Health Department and the Newton County Health Department have documented, at county taxpayer expense, that the streams in our area are indeed contaminated. But the DNR is not satisfied with their sampling sites and will not get around to sampling these "polluted streams" until 2013.

What we have here is a inept state agency that does not care to recognize that no one county can correct a multi-county problem. That in reality falls upon a state agency to oversee, manage and reverse the problem of unhealthy waters.

Maybe the EPA needs to step in and put the hammer down--i.e. DNR has two years to get it under control or the Federal government will do it with some real nasty oversight.

I am tired of the buck being passed back and forth over a problem that has been evident since the mid 90's with the problem only increasingly getting worse. Let's put a fence around Missouri and let the tourists know that it is not safe to stop and get into the water. Radical, yes, but when will something be done for the citizen and not for the corporation.

Commentary by Bill Miller, Goodman, MO

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