By Andy Ostmeyer
While neither Missouri nor McDonald County officials test one of the most popular recreational streams in the state, neighbors to the west watch it carefully.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has found that Elk River, where the agency tests it for bacteria, has levels so high that people who get in the water are increasing their odds of getting sick. That state's recommendation is that what it calls "primary body contact-recreation" - swimming, for example - "is not supported" in Elk River.
The Elk River analyses are part of Oklahoma's efforts to find out what is flowing into the Grand Lake watershed.
A survey of other Oklahoma records found:
At every monitoring site along the rivers and streams that feed what Oklahoma officials call the Neosho Grand Lake sub-basin - and there are 15 of them - recreation such as swimming is "not supported" because of bacterial contamination. That includes not only Elk River near Tiff City, but also Spring River at Quapaw, Okla.; the Neosho River at Commerce, Okla.; and Honey Creek near Grove, Okla., on the north and east sides of the lake. The mean for enterococci bacteria in Honey Creek is 362.7 colonies per 100 milliliters of water, 10 times the federal standard of 33 colonies per 100 milliliters for enterococci. The mean of 19 samples taken in Elk River over the past six years is 50.6 colonies of enterococci.
In 2004, 30 percent of the samples collected in Grand Lake proper by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board had elevated levels of enterococci. Those readings were as high as 600 colonies of the bacteria per 100 milliliters of water. Bacteria such as enterococci and E. coli are predictors of what is known as swimming-associated gastroenteritis and have been linked to other illnesses. In 2006, so far, the lake has tested at levels considered safe. State officials test the lake every other year, relying on volunteers to fill the gap.
By Andy Ostmeyer
- Lead Stories
Joplin man arrested in possible shaken baby case
Joplin police are following up on the alleged assault of a 7-month-old infant.
According to police, they were called just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to 1606 S. Kentucky Ave. in reference to an infant girl who was unresponsive.
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‘Fire all over’: Four suffer minor injuries in apartment blaze
Her phone started ringing, followed by a noise of uncertain origin outside her apartment. That’s how the sleep of 28-year-old Sylvia Moran was dispelled in the nick of time Monday morning. Moran got up, looked out a window and saw smoke.
Heat repeat: Year's third heat wave to continue through week
For the third time this summer, a wave of hot weather has washed across the Joplin metro area, causing heat indexes to soar into the triple digits.
- United Way groups note campaign status The Carthage Area United Way is more than two-thirds of the way toward reaching its campaign goal of $310,000 for the year, volunteers were told Thursday.
- Jerry Ray Clemens
- Agency shows off mobile home as possible alternative in buyouts MIAMI, Okla. — To help alleviate the housing problems facing some of the Tar Creek residents who are taking part in a federal buyout, officials staged an open house Thursday displaying a Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile home.
- Local fairs attract crowds, competitors For many area residents, the county fair is a pleasant diversion for an afternoon or evening, to admire the animals, eat a hot dog or take the kids to the carnival.
- April showers might freeze flowers Joplin gardeners were heading for the covers Thursday, not because they were trying to get warm in the cold but because their plants needed protection from record-cold temperatures and the possibility of a spring snowstorm.
- Counties examine roles of shelters Joplin officials are still assessing Memorial Hall’s role as an emergency shelter, while a Newton County official said the network of shelters there fared well during the ice storm this month.
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- Joplin man arrested in possible shaken baby case