Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) is thrilled to see that Governor Parson signed HB 2134 into law on Tuesday, July 9, providing greater protections for residents near facilities that mix and store sludge and related wastes as well as near the properties where these materials are land applied. 

The impetus for this bill was the concerns from residents living near activities of Denali Water Solutions, Inc. (commonly referred to as “Denali”). MCE first learned about Denali in the summer of 2022 and began extensive research into the statutes and rules governing Denali operations. We discovered multiple gaps in the law, allowing Denali to operate without oversight from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

We are grateful to all legislators, especially the bill sponsors, who met with MCE’s policy team to share our findings and our proposed language to close loopholes and provide greater protections for Missouri’s people and their environment.  HB 2134 has provided numerous protections that will ensure facilities handling industrial wastewater, sludge, and process wastes cannot operate without abiding by certain standards necessary to protect the surrounding surface water bodies, groundwater, and neighboring land. These protections include groundwater monitoring for facilities near geological features that increase chances for contamination, such as operations on or near karst topography. These facilities will also be required to abide by minimum design standards for storage basins. This means the facilities must use certain materials and infrastructure used in the creation of the storage basins to minimize risk of contamination. Lastly, HB 2134 directs DNR to mandate certain standards that facilities must abide by when handling industrial wastewater, sludge, and process wastes. Specifically, the nutrient management technical standard “shall include land application practices, annual soil sampling, setbacks, material sampling requirements and frequency, and a process for establishing land application rates.” All of these added protections will ensure the waste does not harm Missouri’s people, their property, or the natural environment around them. 

We look forward to working with the legislature to address additional reforms and desired protections in the 2025 legislative session.

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