Water Quality at Lake of the Ozarks

2007-2011 Lake Ozark Watershed Alliance (LOWA) and
DNR Lake of the Ozarks Water Quality Study

This study is a five-year cooperative effort led by the DNR and LOWA, which provided trained volunteers to collect water samples. Each year approximately 15 coves are sampled monthly. The intent is to sample from Bagnell Dam to Truman Dam over the five-year period.

The volunteers collect samples monthly from May through October each year. Samples are analyzed by the DNR laboratory, where they are tested using methods approved by the EPA.  All samples are analyzed for E. coli. 

Costs for the water testing run about $15,000 annually. The five-year project is funded through a settlement agreement with Ameren UE, which controls the shoreline at the Lake of the Ozarks and has certain responsibilities for management of the lake.

All sampling results:

Recreational water safety information is available on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' website at http://health.mo.gov/safety/recreationalwater/index.php.

Sign-up to receive email notification when sampling results are updated.

Gov. Jay Nixon has made water quality in Missouri – especially at the Lake of the Ozarks – a priority. The Department of Natural Resources has several ongoing programs at the lake to sample water and analyze water quality. These programs include:

Lake of the Ozarks Initiative

On Sept. 23, 2009, Gov. Jay Nixon directed the DNR to conduct a sweeping enforcement initiative aimed at improving water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. Included in this initiative:

Initiative report

Baseline study of contaminants

Sampling for the water quality study began in October. 78 sites were sampled and were analyzed for volatile organic analysis (VOA), pesticides (507 and 508), petroleum fractions, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, non-filterable residue (NFR), chloride, E. coli, and total alkalinity as CaCO3.  Field measurements of dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductivity, temperature and nephelometric turbidity were also recorded at each site.

2009 Inspection sweep

The inspection sweep began on Oct. 5, 2009 and the department cited more than 150 violations. There are more than 400 wastewater facilities near the Lake of the Ozarks or its major tributaries with DNR-issued operating permits. A map of the facilities included in this inspection sweep is available online.

Total Inspections Facilities in Compliance Noncompliant Facilities
419 264 155

2009 State Park Beach Sampling

The Division of State Parks, a division of DNR, operates public beaches at 15 state parks throughout Missouri, including two beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  From May through October of each year, water samples are taken and analyzed weekly from these beaches. The DNR laboratory tests the samples to determine if water quality is safe for swimming. When bacteria readings reach certain levels, beaches are closed to the public until the next sampling determines the water is safe for swimming.