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Koster to hold two-day symposium on water quality issues at Lake of the Ozarks

With pollution closing some Lake of the Ozarks' public beaches, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster plans to hold a symposium next week on the lake's water quality problems.

Gov. Jay Nixon is to kick off the two-day gathering, set for next Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Koster's office, "The purpose of the public symposium is to explore the total range of water quality issues confronting the Lake of the Ozarks today and over the next 20 years."

Click here to review the symposium's agenda.

Today, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced that swimming beaches at two state parks "will be closed this weekend due to E. coli levels higher than the standards" set by the department. Such announcements have been common throughout the summer.

The affected beaches this weekend are Public Beach 1 at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, and Wakonda State Park Beach.

E. coli is a bacteria that generally comes from human and animal waste and feces.

The state Department of Natural Resources is closing beaches whenever "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 department's aggressive action comes after the controversy last summer over a delay in closing beaches that exceeded in the standards. Nixon ended up firing or disciplining some DNR officials.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.