Boone County and the City of Columbia are using a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study storm-water runoff into Bear Creek, north of I-70. A task force will focus on reducing pollutants, which flow directly into the creek, untreated.
City Engineer Erin Keys said creeks are susceptible to pollution because they are surrounded by urban development and industry. Keys said she hopes to keep pollutants like insecticides and industrial waste out of Columbia's streams.
"We're going to monitor the practices we put in, how effective these practices are in reducing the runoff and reducing the pollution so that we can improve our streams."
Keys projects a total cost for the project of $1.2 million over the next three years. The plan is to install retention ponds and rain gardens, which filter water before it enters the creek system. After initial tests, treatment will be expanded to Hinkson Creek as well.