Statement regarding water sampling at Lake of the Ozarks

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-191 For Immediate Release: July 16, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, -- Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Templeton today released the following statement on the release of results from a long-term study of water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks:

"The Department of Natural Resources has, for two years, overseen a long-term study of water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. This study is designed to include data from dozens of coves with sampling occurring three times annually over the course of five years, to give a longitudinal view of water quality. In May 2009, one-half of one round of sampling showed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria in some coves. Due to concerns that recent rainfall had elevated bacteria levels, the Department of Natural Resources sought recent and historical rainfall data before releasing the results of the May sampling. That information indicated that elevated levels were directly correlated with rainfall that occurred immediately prior to the May sampling, and that historical instances of elevated sampling results have been correlated with periods of significant rainfall.

Nevertheless, the Department of Natural Resources should have released results from the May sampling more quickly. In subsequent months, sampling results have been released after analysis, and that will always be the Department's practice moving forward. While all future results will be immediately available as soon as they are analyzed, I urge all Missourians to recognize that this is a long-term scientific process to gauge the health of the Lake of the Ozarks.

This five-year study is a priority for this department and will give us important information for use in making recommendations on how to protect and improve this treasured natural resource."