News Release 284

Beach at Watkins Mill State Park closed due to bacteria levels

Volume 39-284 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 17, 2011 – The swimming beach at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and Historic Site was closed today after water samples taken Monday showed bacteria levels in excess of the Department of Natural Resources’ standard for state park beaches.

The beach will remain closed until sample results indicate the bacteria levels are within the department’s standard for swimming beaches. All other facilities at the park, with the exception of Fox Hunt Picnic Area, are open and available to visitors.

The water at all designated beaches in the state park system is sampled weekly during the recreational season by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to determine suitability for swimming. Water quality can be determined to be unsuitable for swimming based on either the single sample taken earlier in the week, or by the geometric mean, which is a mathematical value that takes into consideration results from the current week plus the results taken during the previous weeks.

The sample test results indicate a snap shot of the water quality taken at the beaches at a specific time; however, a single sample does not provide an overall sense of the water quality in the lake where the beach is located. Water samples are taken to check for E. coli, a common indicator species for bacteria.

Higher bacteria levels are often associated with heavy rains that result in runoff from adjacent lands. However, there are a number of possibilities that can contribute to higher bacteria, and chances are no single source is the cause.

Information about current status of beaches at other parks is available on the Missouri State Parks website at Signs indicating the status of the beaches are posted at the beaches as well.

Beaches and other facilities at state parks may be unavailable for reasons unrelated to bacteria. Lewis and Clark State Park, including its beach, is closed because of high water related to flooding on the Missouri River. Missouri State Parks maintains a list of alerts and advisories at

Missouri's state parks and historic sites offer something to suit everyone's taste - outdoor adventure, great scenery and a bit of history. With Missouri’s 85 state parks and historic sites, the possibilities are boundless.

For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites and swimming beaches, visit