News Release 368

Lake of the Ozarks sampling finds no cases of elevated E. Coli levels

Volume 38-368 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:  Judd Slivka

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 23, 2010 – Water samples drawn from the Lake of the Ozarks Monday found none with E. coli levels in excess of the federal standard for public swimming beaches, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today.

The department sampled 51 sites in 13 coves primarily along the lake’s Gravois Arm and Osage Arm from Mile Maker 36 to Mile Marker 60 for E. coli bacteria. The purpose of the program is to develop a five-year baseline that will assist in future studies of the lake’s health.

This is the first time this set of coves was tested as part of this year’s sampling program. They will be tested again in August. A separate set of coves was sampled earlier this month and will be sampled again in July. These two sets of coves will be tested during alternate months through October, with each set of coves being tested three times.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a single-sample recommended maximum level of 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water for public swimming beaches. The highest E. coli level found in Monday’s sampling was 133 colonies per 100 milliliters.

E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, including humans.  While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can cause gastrointestinal illness.  The testing process used in this study does not differentiate between strains.

These bacteria and other pathogens can reach lake water from many different sources, both human and animal.  For some people, such as children, elderly or those with weakened immune systems, even low levels of these bacteria may cause illness.

The sampling program is the result of a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, Ameren UE and the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance.  When completed, the water testing will include coves from Bagnell Dam to Truman Dam.

A link to the results and a map of the areas being sampled is available on the department’s website at Monitoring results will be posted to the map as they become available.