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

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-270 For Immediate Release: Aug. 20, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, -- Water sampling at the Lake of the Ozarks Monday found no samples with E. coli levels in excess of federal standards, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today.

In the third year of a five-year testing program, the Department sampled 59 sites along the Niangua arm, and Linn Creek and Hurricane Deck areas of the Lake of the Ozarks 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.

These coves were tested in June and will be tested again in October. The Department will test a different set of sites in September. Testing began in May, with each set of coves being tested three times over the course of the summer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established single-sample standard of 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water for public swimming beaches, which is the standard the Department uses for this project.  The highest E. coli level found in the August sampling was 30.1 colonies per 100 milliliters.

E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, including humans.  Some strains of E. coli 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.

The sampling program is the result of a partnership of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Conservation, Ameren UE and the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance, which provides trained volunteers to collect the samples. Ameren also pays $15,000 per year for the five-year study.  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 to be sampled is available on the Department's website at Monitoring results will be posted to the map as they become available.

For more information regarding the Lake Ozark Watershed Alliance, please visit their web site at