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Table Rock Lake is a hot spot for summer fun, but after this year’s severe flooding is it safe? KSMU’s Chasity Mayes has more.
After nearly 15 inches of rain drenched parts of the Ozarks, many were concerned with how local waters like Table Rock Lake would be affected. Although many assume that flooding is guaranteed to have a negative impact on water quality that’s not always the case.
“We like to say that the water is only as clean as the land around it.”Gopala Borchelt is the executive director of Table Rock Lake Water Quality. She says the first half inch of rain to fall is what can make or break water quality.“Usually it’s the first half inch that really carries the majority of pollutants off the land. After that, then you just get more and more dilution. With the 10 to 12 to 15 inches of rain we had around Table Rock we had a lot of dilution. So, It’s really not surprising that we find lower numbers,” says Borchelt.
After testing the water last week along the main channel of Table Rock Lake, Borchelt says the highest E. coli levels were 12 organisms per 100 ML of water. She says that’s much lower than the EPA’s maximum E. coli level for swimming, which is 235. Borchelt says the small amount found in Table Rock could be from animals or septic systems leaking.
Borchelt adds that the main concern after flooding is for boaters.
“The main thing to worry about is floating debris. A lot of people like to get out on the lake and get out on their boat. Sometimes you can’t see the sticks and logs and things until you’re right up on them. So, some of the coves and also the main channel might have a little as well, floating logs and sticks,” says Borchelt.
Due to funding, Table Rock Lake Water Quality doesn’t plan to test during the summer. Last week’s testing wasn’t required, but Borchelt says with heavy rainfall amounts and swimming season around the corner, they thought it would be the perfect time. If you’re on the water and find signs of pollution or heavy debris you can contact Table Rock Lake Water Quality to get the cleanup process started.
For more information, visit KSMU.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.