Water samples taken this week from 12 coves at the Lake of the Ozarks did not contain elevated E. Coli levels, but two Missouri beaches will remain closed because of elevated average amounts of the bacteria.
All 12 samples are from coves in the lake's upper region, from the Highway 65 bridge to the Brown Bend area 30 miles down-lake. Renee Bungart with the Department of Natural Resources says the upper-lake testing is part of a 5-year study to examine the Lake of the Ozark's ecological health.
"After we finish this final year, we'll get all of the data sets from the five years, and we will finalize the report to let people know what the overall water quality is...at the lake," Bungart said.
Bungart says the 12 coves tested this week will also be tested each month through October, and will be tested immediately following the 4th of July and Labor Day holiday weekends. The study is separate from the E. Coli testing done each week at state park beaches across Missouri.
In related news, two Missouri beaches will remain closed this weekend. Grand Glaize Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park has been closed due to elevated E. Coli levels. Bungart says water samples from this week actually showed a big drop in E. Coli levels, but the beach remains closed due to their second guideline - average levels.
"Basically, all of the data from this week as well as previous weeks...we get an average of all of that data...if it exceeds a second number that we use, then we do go ahead and recommend closing the beach," Bungart said.
The Lake of the Ozarks' other state park beach, at Kaiser, is open this weekend. Meanwhile, the beach at Lake Wappapello State Park in southeastern Missouri remains closed due to flooding.