News Release 306

One of two swimming beaches at Pomme De Terre State Park closed for weekendBeaches at Crowder, Lake of the Ozarks and Mark Twain state parks also closed

Volume 38-306 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MAY 19, 2010 – The opening of the Hermitage Beach swimming area at Pomme De Terre State Park has been postponed due to elevated levels of E. coli discovered during routine water sampling earlier this week, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The department also discovered elevated levels of E. coli and three additional state park swimming beaches including Crowder State Park, Lake of the Ozark State Park - Public Beach 1 and Mark Twain State Park; however, these beaches are not scheduled to open until May 28. 

The beaches will remain closed until subsequent sampling results indicate the E. coli levels have dropped below the federal standard for swimming beaches. The beaches have been posted with signs notifying visitors the beaches are closed.

The Pittsburg Beach swimming area, also located at Pomme De Terre State Park, will open as scheduled this weekend. Samples collected from this area were below EPA’s single-sample standard.

EPA’s single-sample standard for E. coli is 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water. The department will also close beaches if the geometric mean– a 30-day rolling average – for E. coli exceeds 126 cfu/100 ml.

Water samples drawn Monday from the state park swimming areas showed E. coli levels in excess of the federal recommended single-sample maximum level for swimming beaches.  Two samples were taken from each state park beach, which included the following results:

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, through its Division of State Park, manages 85 state parks and historic sites throughout the state, including 15 with swimming beaches. Water samples are taken weekly during the recreational swimming season to help ensure a safe public swimming area.

E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals, including humans.  While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some strains 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 latest information on beach closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp. Additional information about all temporary closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp.