If passed, the measure would require inspections of tens of thousands of non-permitted, residential septic tanks and restrict new wastewater permits at affected bodies of water.
The proposal would also broaden the authority of the Missouri Clean Water Commission and the Department of Natural Resources to enforce against water pollution in distressed bodies of water.
Nixon indicated that the Lake of the Ozarks would be the first target of new clean water regulations.
"Preserving Missouri's water is of critical importance, and it has long been clear that the Lake of the Ozarks is a resource in need of more stringent protection," Nixon said in a written statement. "Recent sampling results have reinforced what many of us have believed for years: the lake is heavily used but under-protected, and action is needed to change that equation."
Residential septic tanks, which fall under the purview of county governments, would be a focus at the Lake of the Ozarks under the governor's proposal. According to the governor's office, the ultimate goal will be to replace all septic tanks with sewer systems; however, installing sewers at the Lake would be a costly proposal. For now, the state will assume responsibility to inspect existing septic tanks in hopes of curbing some pollution.
"The real challenge at the Lake of the Ozarks is that you have thousands of septic systems and many of them have significant problems," Scott Holste, the governor's spokesman, said. "By giving Department of Natural Resources authority, it will be major step forward."
In November, Missouri Digital News reported on the failure of septic tanks at the Lake and the resulting pollution.
The governor's office also emphasized that county officials would be given more authority to inspect septic tanks should the governor's proposal be enacted.
This suggestion was met with some skepticism by Tracy Rank, the environmental public health specialist for Benton County, one of the four counties which include the Lake of the Ozarks.
"It sounds wonderful and everything to give us authority, and if that state said to do 100 percent inspections of septic tanks, we would do our best," Rank said. "But sometimes, 100 percent just isn't possible."
The counties at the Lake of the Ozarks would be most aided by state government money to help county residents replace failing septic tanks or for the counties to use to construct sewer systems, Rank said.
Tuesday's proposal followed months of efforts by the governor's office to address the issue of pollution at the Lake of the Ozarks.
In September, Nixon announced the Natural Resources Department would inspect wastewater facilities and perform a comprehensive test of pollutants in the Lake's water. The state found that 154 facilities were out of compliance; enforcement actions were taken against 42 of these facilities.
The governor's current proposal will be presented as a bill during the coming legislative session.