WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A dozen Kansas lakes and ponds are on the state’s warning list for blue-green algae. One of the lakes is new to the warning list, while one has dropped from “warning” to “watch.”

Blue-green algae is toxic to people and pets, and people who visit the lakes should take the precautions listed below.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) compiled this list:

Warning

  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County
  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County
  • Hain SFL, Ford County
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County
  • Kingston Lake, Johnson County
  • Melvern Outlet (River) Pond, Osage County
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County
  • Overbrook City Lake, Osage County (Elevated on September 9)
  • Rooks County SFL, Rooks County
  • Summercrest Lake, Johnson County 

Watch

  • Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage County (Lowered on September 9)
  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County
  • Louisburg Old Lake (City Lake), Miami County
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County
  • Milford Lake Zone A, Dickinson and Geary Counties
  • Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County

What to know about warnings:

  • Lake water is not safe 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 may be eaten if rinsed with clean water, and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts the skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

What to know about watches:

  • Signage will be posted at all public access locations. 
  • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals. 
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation, and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water. 
  • Swimming, wading, skiing, and jet skiing are discouraged near-visible blooms. 
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact. 
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portions only.

If you observe a scum or paint-like surface on the water, small floating blue-green clumps or filaments in the water, or if the water is an opaque green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

Pet owners should be aware that animals 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. 

These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact.

Symptoms vary but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you, or your dog, come into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water.

For more information, you can visit the KDHE’s website by clicking here.