TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — El Dorado Lake in Butler County has been lifted from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s (KDHE) blue-green algae advisory list, while two lakes have been elevated to a warning level.

Blue-green algae is a harmful algal bloom (HAB) that may look like foam, scum, or paint floating in the water. It can appear as blue, bright green, brown or red. These blooms can spread rapidly. If the water appears to be suspicious, avoid contact and keep pets away.

These toxins can be absorbed via ingestion, inhalation, and even skin contact. Symptoms can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you or your pets come into contact with the algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water and report the incident online.

The KDHE and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have put 10 Kansas lakes and ponds under a warning:

  • Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage County 
  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County (Elevated on Aug. 25)
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County 
  • Hain SFL, Ford County 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Louisburg Old Lake (City Lake), Miami County (Elevated on Aug. 25)
  • Melvern Outlet (River) Pond, Osage County 
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County 
  • Summercrest Lake, Johnson County 

The KDHE and KDWP have put three ponds and lakes under a watch:

  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County 
  • Overbrook City Lake, Osage County 

The KDHE and KDWP have lifted one lake:

  • El Dorado Lake, Butler County 

There are currently no bodies of water under a hazard status in Kansas.

A warning status means that a harmful algal bloom is expected or present.

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

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Water is unsafe for humans and animals.
  • Avoid all contact with water.
  • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.
  • Do not let pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
  • If fish are caught, clean well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.

watch status means that a harmful algal bloom is possible and may be present.

During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken: 

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Water may be unsafe for humans and animals.
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation.
  • 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 the fillet portion only.

A hazard status means that a harmful algal bloom is present and extreme conditions exist.

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

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations
  • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone be closed to the public.
  • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.
  • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

KDHE investigates publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible field observation and sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.  

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.

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