Watkins Mill Beach closed after high levels of E. coli found

LAWSON, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Natural Resources shutdown the beach at Watkins Mill State Park after one of two water samples came back with high levels of E. coli.

The water is tested every Monday and will be tested again next Monday to see if the levels have gone down. Until the next samples are taken, the beach is off limits.

Tammy Scott drives 50 miles just to come to Watkins Mill to bike and hit the beach. This week, even the closed beach didn't stop her.

"I went around the beach and put my floaty on the other side of the beach line," she said.

After about 30 minutes, park rangers spotted her and made her get out.

"And I said, 'Why not? You let boats out here and you let kayaks out here, why can't I be out here on this little floaty?'"

DNR spokesperson Rene Bungart explained closing the beach is just a precaution.

"It is really just a snapshot at that particular moment at that exact location for those bacteria levels, but it doesn't necessarily represent the water quality of that entire water body," Bungart explained.

Normally, rain that washes pollution into the water will cause a closure, but this time it looks to be wildlife. Geese waste can also cause high levels of bacteria.

Scott believes all the posted warnings should be enough.

"If you want to swallow the water that's your bad," she said.

This is the first time the beach has been closed this year. The last time it was closed because of bacteria was for two weeks last summer.

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