UPDATE: Nixon: State failed to close beach despite bacteria

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | 12:40 p.m. CDT; updated 9:42 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 1, 2009

JEFFERSON CIT Y — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the Department of Natural Resources failed to close a beach at the Lake of the Ozarks earlier this year, despite high bacteria levels that put swimmers' health at risk.

Nixon said Wednesday that he has placed department director Mark Templeton on administrative leave without pay, pending an internal investigation into the failure.

At a hastily called news conference, Nixon said he learned only recently that the beach had not been closed after water samples taken on May 18 and May 27 showed high levels of E. coli.

The governor called the failure to close the beach an "egregious mistake." He also said the department had previously provided him false information indicating the beach had been closed.


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