Public Health Warnings Concerning Blue-Green Algae in Kansas Waters

>Six Lakes Under Warning

TOPEKA, Kan. – October 26, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples publicly accessible bodies of water for cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom in Kansas lakes. KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of harmful conditions.

Lakes under a Warning are not closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches or lakes are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a Warning, but contact with the water should be avoided. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water; consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present. KDHE and KDWPT urge pet owners to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

Public Health Warning: High levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A Public Health Warning indicates that activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (i.e., wading, skiing and swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

Kansas public waters currently under a Warning status:

BROWN COUNTY STATE FISHING LAKE, Brown County
CHISHOLM CREEK PARK LAKE, Sedgwick County
HARVEY COUNTY EAST PARK LAKE, Harvey County
HIAWATHA CITY LAKE, Brown County
NEMAHA STATE FISHING LAKE, Nemaha County
PLAINVILLE TOWNSHIP LAKE, Rooks County

When a Warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Lake water is not good to drink for pets or livestock
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans
  • Water contact should be avoided
  • Fish can be eaten as long as they are rinsed with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation

KDHE will update these statements as conditions warrant.
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MEDIA Contact Information:

Ashton Rucker
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
785-291-3684
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Ron Kaufman, Director of Information Services
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
785-296-2281
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David Kolarik, Chief, Public Affairs
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – KC District
816-389-3072
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PUBLIC Contact Information:
Receive up-to-date lake conditions at this phone number: (785) 296-1664

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, go to: http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm

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At KDHE, our mission is to protect and improve the health and environment of all Kansans.

Through education, direct services and the assessment of data and trends, coupled with policy development and enforcement, KDHE will improve health and quality of life. We prevent illness, injuries and foster a safe and sustainable environment for the people of Kansas.

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