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Nixon announces "massive" cleanup of Lake of the Ozarks

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon unveils a major water quality enforcement effort at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon unveils a major water quality enforcement effort at the Lake of the Ozarks.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has unveiled a major enforcement effort designed to improve water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The plan includes inspecting 400 facilities on or near the Lake, a zero tolerance standard for wastewater violations, and taking water quality surveys of the entire Lake.

Stricter permitting standards involving wastewater discharge and land displacement will also be implemented.

Nixon calls the current water quality at the state's largest man-made lake "unacceptable."

"This is an important asset that we're going to protect...this lake will be cleaner when I am done than it was when I started," Nixon said.

The plan, though, has a vocal detractor: Osage Beach Mayor Penny Lyons.

"I don't think it's that dirty...we had goose droppings, we do have an occasional facility that may have a spill, and they usually catch those...we had the beach closed twice, and mostly it was because of the goose droppings, and we had up to eight inches of rain one week, and the rain will flush anything into the lake area," Lyons said.

Lyons also says she received no notice about the governor's press conference and described herself as being blindsided.

When asked by reporters how much the enforcement effort would cost, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Mark Templeton said that they were still working on estimates. Nixon also said that they'll find the necessary resources.

Controversy erupted this summer when it became known that the DNR delayed releasing water sample results from the Lake of the Ozarks that showed e-coli levels in May had reached unsafe levels.

A full report on water sample results and enforcement efforts is scheduled to be issued December 31st.