November 10th, 2009 6:28 AM by Mike and Susie Berra
There has been an unprecedented amount of media coverage regarding E-coli at the Lake of the Ozarks. Some of it has been very informative and some has been very biased. A recent article in one of the larger metro newspapers claimed that the Lake is "filthy".
Compared to what? A residential swimming pool? The bottled water you drink? ...Then maybe it is. Let's compare the Lake of the Ozarks to other Lakes, and then look back to see if the Lake water quality has changed any in the past 10-20 years.
All lakes are subject to the wrath of mother nature. When heavy rains sweep the animal waste into the waterways of our country, there is nothing we can do about it. When the rare occurence of e-coli bacteria shows up on the test from the lake water sample, the closing of the swimming beaches is somewhat useless. The water samples are already a day or two old, and the results may have very well changed. Half of the lake swimming beaches in Missouri State Parks have had elevated levels of e-coli in 2009. Not just the Lake of the Ozarks. I guess talking about the smaller lakes in the state does not sell as many newspapers.
Of the 400+ wastewater treatment plants that DNR has inspected at the Lake of the Ozarks in the past several months, only about 1% of all locations inspected have had severe enough problems to be turned over to the Attorney General of Missouri. These wastewater treatment systems consist of small neighborhoods, large developments, commercial waterfront establishments and multi-family projects.
In the past 10 years, thousands and thousands of homes with older septic systems have been sold. If the systems fail, an agreement is typically reached by the buyer and seller to have the system repaired or replaced. That means thousands of newer, up-to-date septic systems have been installed, replacing the old, rusted and antiquated systems of the past.
Ameren UE's requirement to replace all dock foam with encapsulated foam has been very beneficial, as well as the ongoing "Shoreline Clean-up" every year where tons of old foam and other debris has been removed from the Lake.
You be the judge... I think the Lake is much cleaner than the "old days".