The Missouri Department of Natural Resources temporarily shut down the beaches at three state parks this week. Samples showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The affected beaches are located at Finger Lakes Park in Columbia, Harry S. Truman Park in Warsaw and Wakonda Park in La Grange.
Thousand Hills Park in Kirksville was closed because of flooding.
Renee Bungart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, says typically, bacteria levels may be higher with a lot of rainfall. “Each week we collect two water quality samples from two sections from the beach area and they are tested for E. coli samples,” she says.
The Department of Natural Resources is testing the closed beaches again Monday and will post their results online Wednesday afternoon.
“It is important for people to understand that those sample results indicate a snapshot of water quality taken at that beach at that specific time. It does not indicate the general overall water quality for that lake, though,” Bungart says.
Megan McConachie of the Columbia Visitors and Conventions Bureau said she hopes the beach at Finger Lakes Park will be suitable for swimming again soon.
“At this point, it is one of our attractions that’s very important and it’s something that we won’t be able to promote at this time, but hopefully they will be able to resample soon and get everything reopened,” she says. "So we’re hoping that it will only be very temporary."
The Department of Natural Resources says that in addition to high levels of bacteria, the beaches at Lake Wappapello and Mark Twain State Park are closed due to flooding.