News Release 431

E. coli prompts closure of two state park swimming beaches

Volume 38-431 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka
573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 28, 2010 – Swimming beaches at two Missouri state parks will be closed this weekend due to E. coli levels higher than the standard set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Water samples drawn Monday from public beaches at Wakonda and Lake of the Ozarks state parks showed E. coli levels in excess of the department’s standard for state park beaches.

Wakonda State Park Beach will be closed due to E. coli levels higher than the department’s standard for a single water sample. The testing results of Monday’s sample from the beach showed 387.3 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

A water sample collected from the Grand Glaize Beach, or Public Beach No. 2,  at Lake of the Ozarks State Park had 325.5 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters, prompting the department to close it as well. Public Beach No. 1 at Lake of the Ozarks State Park met department standards and remains open.

Mark Twain State Park Beach, which remains closed because of high water, also had E. coli levels in excess of the department standard. A sample collected at the beach had 601.5 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water.

In order to provide a safer beach experience, the Department of Natural Resources will close beaches at state parks if a single sample is above 235 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water, which is also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s single-sample guideline for a swimming beach.

The closed beaches have been posted with signs notifying visitors of the closure and will remain closed until E. coli levels fall below the department standard.

No other state park beaches tested high for E. coli levels; however, bacterial levels often rise after heavy rains and lake users should use their judgment when swimming after heavy rains.

The latest information on beach closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp. Additional beaches may be closed for other reasons, such as high water levels or safety and management issues. Information about all temporary closings at state parks is available online at /asp/spbeaches/state-park-beach-status.asp.

The 17,626-acre Lake of the Ozarks State Park surrounds the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden and Miller counties. The 1,054-acre Wakonda State Park is located south of LaGrange in Lewis County.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, through its Division of State Parks, 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.

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