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Water quality symposium at Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Lake of the Ozarks

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is hosting a symposium to highlight water quality issues at the Lake of the Ozarks.

It comes a year after the controversy surrounding the delayed the release of test results that showed elevated E. coli levels at the Lake.

Koster opened the two-day event by telling the audience of scientists, local politicians and business leaders that the Lake of the Ozarks' ecosystem faces more threats as more and more weekenders become permanent residents.

"Not only will some of their outdated septic tanks be discharging into the water system, but this population growth will mean more fertilizer on lawns and more development discharging construction sediment," Koster said.

Koster wants participants to come up with solutions for lawmakers as they craft bills for next year. One suggestion already being floated is the creation of a sewer system for the entire Lake of the Ozarks region. Osage Beach Mayor Penny Lyons says it would be very difficult to build, citing the area's rocky terrain.

"I don't know where the funding would come from, but they would need funding to even do some of the engineering for some of, what I would (call), smaller regional (sewer treatment) plants," Lyons said. "I don't think you're going to get everything to come to one point."

Lyons suggests an easier solution would be for adjacent small towns to consolidate their sewer systems.

Governor Jay Nixon also attended the opening session and touted his administration's increased inspection of wastewater emissions.