The results of five years of testing the Lake for E. Coli dominated the last meeting of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance.
“The test results show the E. Coli levels in the Lake of the Ozarks are typically low,” Greg Stoner, Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Biologist, said of the final results of the E. Coli Cove Study conducted jointly by LOWA and The Department of Natural Resources.
The samples were collected monthly from May to October of each year. Each site was sampled three times in alternating months. There were a total of 1,619 samples collected during the five years by 75 volunteers, grouped into 52 teams, over the five-year period. The sample analysis was funded by Ameren Missouri at a cost of $15,000 each year.
May 2009 skews data
Of the 1,619 samples taken during the entire study, only 43 samples or 2.7% exceeded the 235 one-time recommended maximum level of 235 per 100 milliliters of water. Of the samples testing high for E. Coli, 29 or 67% were collected in May of 2009, following several days of extremely heavy rainfall.
“From experience, we know that e. Coli levels will likely increase following heavy rainfall regardless of location or level of development in the area,” Stoner said. Some isolated sites did produce one or more high readings. Those in close proximity to a permitted wastewater facility were investigated further by The DNR staff. In only one instance, was a treatment facility found to be a potential contributing factor.
The Lake is healthy and storm water affects water quality “This five-year study has been a tremendous educational vehicle,” said LOWA Executive Director Donna Swall. “We all have learned so much, and the key is, we learned how healthy our lake really is, and we’ve learned that after a rain, storm water does affect the entire lake water quality. We also know there are Best Management Practices we can do as lakeshore property owners, to be good stewards of the lake to keep storm water on the bank, and in our yards, and out of the Lake. This is why LOWA has developed the LOWA Low Impact Landscapes Program, or LOWA LILs.” For more information, call LOWA LILs Chairman Kathy Fayant at 573-346-2311.
Source: 11/27/11 Lake Expo