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Recreational Water Quality

The Newton County Health Department works with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help protect our most valuable resource, water. The DNR ensures compliance with the federal Clean Water Act by implementing the Missouri Clean Water Act.


The DNR monitors Missouri's water quality and quantity, setting standards and controlling what goes into our water, whether it be recreational water, groundwater, or drinking water.

Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) in Region 7

Search Impaired Waters and TMDLs in Region 7

Swimming in Natural Bodies of Water

Natural bodies of water can contain contaminants that are not visible. Contamination occurs naturally from runoff after heavy rain/storms, as well as waste from wildlife and farm animals. In addition, contamination can occur from storm water sewage overflows, seepage from failing septic systems and boat waste discharge. Bacteria, viruses and parasites may cause "waterborne illness." By practicing healthy swimming habits we can minimize the potential for illness and maximize the joy of swimming.

Reduce the Risk
Choose Swim Areas Carefully

Avoid stagnant, cloudy or unpleasant smelling water

Avoid water with unusual color

Avoid water with excessive algae growth

Avoid natural bodies of water immediately after a heavy rain event

Never swim in waters frequented by livestock or other land animals

Never swim in waters near sewer pipes, discharge pipes, or storm drain outlets

Never swim in areas with dead animals or fish in or near the water

Simple Precautions

Avoid getting water in your mouth

Avoid getting water in your nose

Never swim with open sores/cuts/wounds/abrasions

Never swim with a diarrheal illness

Never poop in the water, take frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers

Shower with soap & a clean water source ASAP after contact with the water

Always wash your hands before eating or drinking after swimming

Symptoms of Waterborne Illness
  • Abdominal cramps

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Fever

  • Headache

Most symptoms will occur within 1-3 days, however some illnesses may take as long as 4 weeks after swimming before symptoms start showing.

If you become ill after swimming check with your doctor for appropriate medical attention.

Please report any waterborne illnesses to the health department.

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