News Release 400

Swimming beaches at three state parks closed for weekend
One additional state park beach closed due to high water levels

Volume 38-400 (For immediate release)
Contact: Judd Slivka

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 8, 2010 – Swimming beaches at three Missouri state parks will be closed this weekend due to E. coli levels higher than the standard set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Water samples drawn Tuesday from public beaches at Lake of the Ozarks, Pomme de Terre and Wakonda state parks showed E. coli levels in excess of the department’s standard for state park beaches.

At the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, the Grand Glaize Beach – also commonly referred to as Public Beach 2 – will be closed because of E. coli levels approximately seven times higher than the department’s standard.  Tuesday’s sample from Grand Glaize Beach was 1732.9 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water.   

Two other parks had E. coli levels considerably lower than Grand Glaize Beach, but still in excess of the department standard:

Public Beach #1 area, also located at Lake of the Ozarks State Park and near the campground, is open for swimming. The Pittsburg Beach swimming area, also located at Pomme de Terre State Park, is open for swimming. Samples collected from both of these locations were below EPA’s single-sample standard.

Mark Twain state park beach remains closed due to high water levels. The 2,775-acre park is located in Monroe County in northeast Missouri along the 18,000-acre Mark Twain Lake.

In order to provide a safer beach experience, the Department of Natural Resources will close beaches at state parks if a single sample is above 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water, which is also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s single-sample guideline for a swimming beach.

The four closed beaches have been posted with signs notifying visitors of the closure.  The three park beaches with elevated E. coli levels will remain closed until they fall below the department standard. The park beach closed due to high water will remain closed until the water levels have receded.

No other state park beaches tested high for E. coli levels; however, bacterial levels often rise after heavy rains and lake users should use their judgment when swimming after heavy rains.

The latest information on beach closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp. Additional beaches may be closed for other reasons, such as high water levels or safety and management issues. Information about all temporary closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp.

The 17,626-acre Lake of the Ozarks State Park surrounds the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden and Miller counties. The 734-acre Pomme de Terre State Park, which has two separate locations along the 7,800-acre Pomme De Terre Lake, is located near the communities of Pittsburg and Hermitage in Hickory County. Wakonda State Park is located south of LaGrange in Lewis County.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, through its Division of State Parks, manages 85 state parks and historic sites throughout the state, including 15 with swimming beaches. Water samples are taken weekly during the recreational swimming season to help ensure a safe public swimming area.

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 strains can cause gastrointestinal illness. 

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.