St. Louis Public Radio News
6:16 pm
Thu August 20, 2009

Tests show no elevated E. coli levels at Lake of the Ozarks

Jefferson City, MO – The latest water samples from the Lake of the Ozarks show no elevated levels of E. Coli bacteria.

Samples were taken from 59 sites at the Lake, and all of them tested well below federal standards for swimming beaches.

Mark Templeton is Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

"A lot of different things can affect the results...significant, heavy rainfall impacted the May results, or at least it was highly correlated...this time the results are lower," Templeton said.

DNR officials came under fire for delaying the release of May's E. coli results for one month, amid concerns that business and tourism at the Lake of the Ozarks would be hurt.

Those results from May, taken at two sites, showed E. coli levels to be 19 time higher than the federal standard.

Ken Midkiff, Chairman of the Missouri Clean Water Campaign, says the improved test results are not surprising.

"You have the most runoff and the most problem with contaminated water during the spring, when there's very little vegetation...now that lawns are green and there are lots of trees and weeds and things like that, even heavy rain wouldn't cause much of a problem," Midkiff said.

Midkiff filed an ethics complaint against the DNR for delaying the release of the May E. coli report. The Attorney General's office recently cleared the state agency of any wrongdoing.