Positive change has been accomplished through many of our projects, partnerships and volunteer activities which have largely focused on water quality monitoring, improving wastewater treatment systems, removing litter from our lakes and streams, and providing information and education to our communities. Listed below are some of our many projects that have contributed to the empowerment of our communities to better care for their land and water quality.

Kimberling City Center Pavers- A Stormwater Demonstration Project


Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc., now a part of H 2Ozarks, coordinated the replacement of the old, worn-out parking lot at the Kimberling Shopping Center, on Hwy 13 in Kimberling City, MO, with new Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers (PICP) in 2014. TRLWQ’s then director, Gopala Borchelt, organized the project which was funded through a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and by the owners of the Kimberling Center.With the location being very close to Table Rock Lake and the parking lot used by and seen by most local people and thousands of visitors to the Lake, we wanted to show how an upgrade to new pavers could capture and filter stormwater while also providing a beautiful and functional parking area. The PICP allows stormwater to soak through the seams between the pavers and down through the underlying sand, gravel and soil. This removes traffic-borne contaminants such as oil, grease, metals, sediments, minerals (salts, detergents) nitrates and other debris from the water before it eventually filters into Table Rock Lake. For more information, see our project summary.

Table Rock Lake Stormwater Planning and Demonstration Project


The purpose of this project was to bring funding and demonstration projects to the Table Rock Lake area community for stormwater runoff management solutions.These solutions slow down rainwater runoff from developed areas and remove pollution, particularly nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), before it enters the lake. With increasing population and expanding developments around Table Rock Lake, the alterations to the natural landscape allow more rapid rainwater runoff from impervious surface causing soil erosion and washing, oil, antifreeze, detergents, pesticides, pet wastes and many other pollutants containing nutrients, heavy metals and other toxins into streams or Table Rock Lake. The geology of the Table Rock Lake area, which has very shallow, rocky and clay soil, also increases its risk of both surface and ground water contamination.

This project succeeded in highlighting several different types of stormwater solutions including vegetated swales, bioretention basins, terracing with stone and native plants and the main demonstration site at the Kimberling Center showing pervious interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) as a beautiful solution to old infrastructure. Overall, this project’s success and accomplishes in stormwater management for water quality protection have been made possible through the cooperation of many local and regional partnerships. This project also owes its achievement to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Water Protection Project Managers and other dedicated staff who were able to provide the flexibility needed complete this project.

National Fish Habitat Partnership


Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc. has been working with the Missouri Department of Conservation on their National Fish Habitat Initiative project (National Fish and Wildlife Foundation) to continue the very popular and beneficial septic tank pump-out and education program.This program offers participants a visit with a wastewater systems maintenance expert and a $50 rebate for getting their septic tank pumped out, a needed regular maintenance item. So far, since 2007 when we began working with the MDC, we have been able to reach over 2,000 people through our own staff and with the James River Basin partnership.

This program has also allowed us to leverage funds from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for septic replacements. Through this program and in partnership with H 2Ozarks, we have been able to assist with replacement costs for over 70 homeowners who had failing septic tanks.In addition to replacing failing septic systems and education and cost-share for maintenance of onsite systems, our partnership with MDC has potentiality prevented nearly 550 pounds of nitrogen and 120 pounds of phosphorus per year from entering the tributaries and Table Rock Lake. This amount of nutrient has the potential to provide for the growth of 12,000 pounds of blue-green algae (cyanobateria) per year. In excessive concentration, blue-green algae biomass can cause anoxic conditions detrimental to fish species especially in isolated coves and reaches.

The support that this project has brought has also helped secure additional funding for the replacement of many more failing septic systems including the formation of an on-site wastewater treatment systems revolving loan program for the Upper White River watershed. This loan program is administered by the H 2Ozarks organization.

Western Table Rock Lake area Watershed Plan


A Water Quality Management Plan for the immediate surrounding area of the Western portion of Table Rock Lake.

Eastern Table Rock Lake area Watershed Plan


A Water Quality Management Plan for the immediate surrounding area of the Eastern portion of Table Rock Lake.

Lower James River-Table Rock Arm Watershed Plan


Lower James River Watershed Plan and James River Arm or Table Rock Lake Watershed Plan.

Demonstration of Onsite Wastewater Systems


Table Rock Lake Water Quality Decentralized Wastewater Demonstration Project

The Table Rock Lake National Demonstration Project tested different types of advanced technology for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS). The geology and soils conditions around Table Rock Lake present challenges to the proper treatment of wastewater using conventional septic tanks. This project planned to find solutions to the many failing and inadequate OWTS (septic tanks) in the Table Rock Lake area. Three main goals were:

  • Install and test different types of advanced wastewater treatment technologies to evaluate their effectiveness in the unique geological setting around Table Rock Lake. A number of excellent decentralized treatment technologies including advanced OWTS (or systems with pre-treatment components before dispersal into the soil) had been field-tested elsewhere and were commercially available. The focus of the Demonstration Project was to compare technology and test performance in treating wastewater and phosphorus removal using the BioMicrobics, FAST and RetroFAST, Premier Tech Ecoflo and ZABEL SCAT wastewater treatment systems in the Table Rock Lake area and match the treatment units to a lateral dispersal field suitable for the existing soils.
  • Development of a management program following the EPA’s recommended management models for OWTS. With advanced OWTS regular maintenance is needed to ensure proper functioning. Advanced OWTS had received a bad reputation nationwide due to failures from lack of maintenance by system owners. A responsible maintenance entity (RME) was needed to remove maintenance responsibilities from developers or homeowners.
  • Identify legal impediments to widespread adoption of advanced OWTS by changing the regulatory and the wastewater industry’s perceptions of these systems and gaining their acceptance in Missouri.

Detection of Septic Effluent in Lake Coves


Evaluation of Movement of Septic System Effluent from Lakeside Development into Near-Shore Areas of Table Rock Lake 

(2001)The goals of this study were to assess the presence of septic system and treatment plant effluents (leakage) within the near-shore areas of Table Rock Lake. Additionally, this study was to evaluate the potential impacts of these pollution sources on water quality. Our work focused on Aunts Creek coves and Indian Point area coves on Table Rock Lake. These locations are relatively more populated and developed. Aunts Creek area utilizes primarily septic systems for wastewater management, whereas the Indian Point area is served by centralized wastewater treatment systems and septic systems.

The plan for this work was prepared based on a similar study conducted in Indiana on relatively small reservoirs which involved detecting the presence of septic system effluent at near-shore locations. This project used a continuous flow fluorimeter (uses light to detect substances) equipped to detect fluorescence within a wavelength range typical of optical brighteners used in laundry detergents. Since these are typically associated with domestic wastewater, optical brighteners may be used as tracer compounds of domestic wastewater. Therefore, peaks in fluorescence found near-shore likely indicate plumes of septic system effluent.