DNR tests confirm high levels of E. Coli in Weatherby Lake

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-413 For Immediate Release: Oct. 31, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Sampling in Weatherby Lake conducted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources confirms unacceptable levels of E. Coli after a sewage bypass on Wednesday night. Although this was a relatively low-volume bypass compared to the size of the lake, residents are encouraged to avoid contact with the lake water until further notice.

DNR crews took five samples from the lake, and two of those showed an E. Coli level more than 10 times the federal recommended maximum for swimming beaches. The two samples showed levels exceeding 2,400 colonies per 100 milliliters of water. The federal standard is 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water for a single sample. The remaining three sample results were well below the standard. The analysis method used in this instance cannot quantify the level of E. Coli beyond 2,400 colonies per 100 milliliter, so the actual levels may exceed this number.

The DNR was notified Thursday and has been investigating the bypass in the vicinity of 8316 NW Forest Drive in Platte County. An estimated 1,000 gallons of untreated or partially treated sewage spilled into Weatherby Lake.

The Kansas City Public Works says a power failure caused one of its lift stations to go offline. While the pumps were off, sewage began overflowing from a manhole into nearby Weatherby Lake. The Kansas City Public Works were able to get the lift station back on-line quickly, which prevented additional sewage from being discharged.

The department conducted monitoring and sampling at Weatherby Lake to determine if the water quality at the lake was affected from the bypass. Heavy rainfalls may also have contributed large amounts of bacteria to surface water bodies.

The release of untreated sewage from sewer systems, such as this manhole, is known as a sanitary sewer overflow and is a threat to public health and the environment.

To report an environmental emergency, including sewage overflows, please contact the Department of Natural Resources' spill line at 573-634-2436. For more information contact the department at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443, or visit the department's Web page at dnr.mo.gov.