State officials meet for the next two days at Tan-Tar-A to discuss the quality of the water at the Lake of the Ozarks and how to improve it.

Attorney General Chris Koster has scheduled the symposium to address a couple of issues.

“One is this constant drip, drip, drip of news stories related to E. coli on the public beaches. While it is important, (it) is only part of the story,” Koster tells the Missourinet. “The long-term environmental road map that the Lake of the Ozarks faces has some challenges, because of population growth and other different pollution issues.”

Koster says he wants to take a scientific, not a political look, at the problems. The administration of Governor Nixon withheld information about E. coli bacteria contamination at Lake of the Ozarks beaches over concerns about how it might affect tourism at one of the state’s top attractions. A state Senate committee investigated. In its conclusion, the committee called the Department of Natural Resources an agency in chaos that lacked leadership.

Nixon suspended DNR Director Mark Templeton, eventually reinstating him. Deputy Director Joe Bindbeutel took full responsibility for withholding the information during testimony before the committee. Nixon later unveiled a series of steps to improve water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Much speculation has centered on how the various problems at the Lake of the Ozarks have arisen. And though Koster says the symposium won’t focus solely on the E. coli problem, that issue naturally arises, as does a crucial question to resolving it.

“Is this coming from geese and deer and other animal wildlife that is in the surrounding landscape or is it coming from human septic systems?” Koster asks.

The symposium hopes to produce a report with findings and suggested steps to resolve problems prior to the state legislature returning to the Capitol next year.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports 1:15 MP3