Some may say the water at the Lake of the Ozarks is dirty after water sample testing reports proved there was a high level of bacteria in the water in 2009.
Jim Divincen, the Executive Vice President for the Tri County Lodging Association said, â??Where we have had a little bit of a black eye from a public relations stand point is our public beaches.â??It was four years ago when a spike the bacteria known as E. coli was caught on a weekly public beach water test. Joe Roeger, representing the Chamber of Commerce, said, "We have learned a lot since May 26th of 2009. We know that E. coli is found naturally and can wash into bodies of water." The E. coli found in geese droppings washed into the Lake after a four-inch rainfall that season. Divincen said, "Those geese were tagged and relocated, none of which have returned." Divincen added there has been a lot of public misconception regarding the beach testing protocol at the Lake of the Ozarks. There are two sets of tests done. One done by the Department of Natural Resources occurs at the two public beaches every Monday, May through October. The other testing is done on the entire Lake of the Ozarks, which covers 1,150 miles of shoreline. The last test results that were taken included 285 samples of lake water. Divincen said, "Those samples proved that the Lake of the Ozarks is the single cleanest body of water in the state of Missouri when it comes to bacteria." On the subject of testing, the Department of Natural Resources just announced two changes to the beach testing policies this year. Roeger said he is excited for the changes. "I want to give a shout out to our state rep Rocky Miller because it is his bill that initiated common sense responsible testing standards at our state park beaches," he said. The change requires two more tests be taken if any unacceptable readings occur and also changes the way the public is notified (with signs, instead of yellow crime scene tape). No water samples taken over the last four years have failed testing and no one has reported being sickened by bacteria. Divincen says, â??Since 2009, we have not had one reported case of bacteria related illness here at the Lake of the Ozarks; at the regional hospital or Camden County Health department." Roeger said, "I'll tell you this, I have lived at the Lake for 30 years and I have a water front home. I swim and get water in my mouth all the time and have never been sick. Neither have my kids who grew up here." The water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks is currently in the all clear for summer this year.