Possibilities for the Lake of the Ozarks to get cleaner
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Possibilities for the Lake of the Ozarks to get cleaner

Date: November 6, 2009
By: Max Reiss and Rebecca Berg
State Capitol Bureau
Links: See the series on Sewage at the Lake

Intro:  Max Reiss and the Columbia Missourian's Rebecca Berg worked for three months on this investigative series about bacteria contamination at the Lake of the Ozarks. In the first four parts, they outlined how the E. coli problem developed at the lake, as well as what government agencies and officials were responsible for preventing it from happening. In this fifth and final investigative report, Max Reiss tells us what the future holds for water quality and the public's health at the Lake of the Ozarks.
RunTime:  2:38
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Natural Resources Department doesn't need to look far to find out how best to clean up the Lake of the Ozarks.

David Casaletto heads up Table Rock Lake Water Quality Inc and has worked on water issues for more than 10 years.

He says Table Rock Lake also had a problem with broken septic tanks polluting the water.

Actuality:  DCAS1.WAV
Run Time:  00:14
Description: "One thing that seemed to be not addressed at all. . . I don't want to say at all. . . But was really being ignored was small discharges from treatment systems on or on-site septic systems."
Casaletto says his group encouraged homeowners to use drip systems.
 
Drip systems remove many of the harmful bacteria septic systems miss when depositing wastewater.
 
In some cases, it's illegal to install something other than a drip system around Table Rock lake.

Actuality:  DCAS2.WAV
Run Time:  00:06
Description: "If you need a new system and the soil conditions dictate drip, that's your only choice."

Randall Miles worked with Casaletto in cleaning Table Rock Lake.

He teaches soil science at the University of Missouri.

Miles says the Lake of the Ozarks could learn a lesson or two from Table Rock in dealing with water quality.

Actuality:  RMILES3.WAV
Run Time:  00:11
Description: "The settings are similar. you've got steep slopes, you've got shallowness to bedrock. Dense populations in certain segments of the lake there."

But Miles quickly adds how other sources contribute to the harmful bacteria contamination at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Actuality:  RMILES4.WAV
Run Time:  00:14
Description: "A lot of the things that are measuring there comes from animal waste. In other words, pets. Whenever they go out in the lawn and do their thing they're creating fecal coliform."

Soil experts, water quality specialists, and officials from around the lake agree, more money to fix broken systems would certainly help.

Benton County Environmental Public Health Specialist Tracy Rank.

Actuality:  RANK3.WAV
Run Time:  00:14
Description: "I think there needs to be money made available either at the local level you know, for us to distribute as we see fit or to meet criteria or at the state level."

Miles says sewering the Lake of the Ozarks is out of the question - both because of the enormous cost and the terrain. 

He says there's a long list of recommendations to keep the lake clean including keeping homes off the shoreline and installing drip systems but that's not all.

Actuality:  RMILES5.WAV
Run Time:  00:08
Description: "There's no one technology on that menu that's going to be the magic bullet and solves it all."

So sewage will continue to leak which means more bacteria in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Reporting from the state Capitol with Rebecca Berg, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120, KMOX.

Intro:  Despite efforts to clean up the Lake of the Ozarks it is unlikely any solution will keep bacteria out of the lake.
RunTime:  0:37
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Lake of the Ozarks shoreline is not the ideal location for septic tanks says University of Missouri soil sciences professor Randall Miles.

Actuality:  RMILES6.WAV
Run Time:  00:03
Description: "You've got steep slopes, you've got shallowness to bedrock."

But septic tanks line the lake's shoreline.

Miles says the dense population combined with the terrain makes it nearly impossible to adequately deal with wastewater issues.

Actuality:  RMILES5.WAV
Run Time:  00:08
Description: "There's no one technology on that menu that's going to be the magic bullet and solves it all."

That means sewage will continue to leak into the Lake of the Ozarks.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro:  County officials from around the Lake of the Ozarks weigh in on how to deal with wastewater and sewage making their way into the lake.
RunTime:  0:44
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The Natural Resources Department has started reviewing all of the corporate wastewater permits around the Lake of the Ozarks.

But Benton County Environmental Public Health Specialist Tracy Rank says the state needs to narrow its focus.

Rank says more money needs to go to private homeowners to deal with broken or outdated septic tanks.

Actuality:  RANK3.WAV
Run Time:  00:13
Description: "I think there needs to be money made available either at the local level you know, for us to distribute as we see fit or to meet criteria or at the state level."

However, soil experts say there really is no way to keep sewage from flowing into the Lake of the Ozarks from septic tanks.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Max Reiss, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.


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