Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc. is a 501 C-3, non-profit corporation. The TRLWQ Board of Trustees has concentrated heavily on self-education, a continuing, long-term process. Their focus continues to be various water quality issues; causes of the problem; origination of the source; cooperation with various local, state and federal agencies and public leaders, cooperation with other water quality organizations; public education; how can TRLWQ make a difference. TRLWQ is an action group working on projects that help prevent and/or resolve water pollution issues.
Table Rock Lake Water Quality, Inc was formed in December, 1998 by the Table Rock Lake/Kimberling City Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's board of directors recognized that improvement and preservation of water quality in Table Rock Lake is a monumental challenge deserving of commitment from a one-purpose organization.
Excessive nutrient loading in streams occurs in association with areas of urban and agricultural development, or nonpoint sources (NPS), as well as point sources (PS) such as wastewater treatment plant discharge. These wastes are rich in nutrients from human and animal fecal matter, a byproduct of digestion. Excessive nutrient loading causes over-growth of algae known as eutrophication in lakes and streams. Increased nutrient and algae concentration can lead to water quality problems when dense concentrations of algae choke out the indigenous aquatic species and reduce water clarity and recreational uses. Decaying algae decreases dissolved oxygen in the water and may cause streams to become unable to support fish and other aquatic life resulting in fish kills. Ammonia, a form of nitrogen, is also released from decaying algae and, in excessive amounts may cause tissue damage to fish. The natural occurrence of nitrogen and phosphorus in streams varies from one geographical region to another and comes from natural soil erosion, wildlife fecal matter and decomposition of organic material such as fallen leaves. Nitrogen and phosphorus are major plant nutrients essential for growth of aquatic vegetation and form the basis of aquatic food chains, but these concentrations are low in natural streams due to a high removal rate by vegetation and lack of excessive inputs.
Table Rock Lake has been affected by excessive nutrient concentrations which shows in the overabundant growth of algae in many areas of the Lake. Three major causes of pollution in Table Rock Lake: Discharges from sewage treatment plants, waste litter from the chicken industry spread on fields in Arkansas as fertilizer and effluent from individual septic systems in the watershed.
The point-sources of pollution including the municipal wastewater treatment plants are currently regulated and must maintain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit which is used to monitor pollution levels in their discharge. Non-point source pollution is much more difficult to regulate since it does not emanate from individual locations rather is a collection of widespread pollution caused by certain land development and land use practices. TRLWQ focuses many of its projects on non-point pollution due to this being the most prevalent, unregulated source of nutrient pollution in the Table Rock Lake Watershed. Recent projects have focused on helping update and replace individual septic systems that are failing, inadequate or improperly installed. Many of the 20,000+individual septic systems near Table Rock Lake fail due to improper maintenance or soil conditions not suitable for septic systems.
TRLWQ continues to work on projects that help prevent water quality degradation in the lake. We feel that education is extremely important for increasing public awareness and on-going projects or programs are needed to help offer area residents and businesses feasible solutions for remediation and prevention of water quality degradation.