TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued several more public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.
What is blue-green algae?
A harmful algal bloom (HAB) may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly. If the water appears suspicious or if there is any decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact.
Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure (e.g., direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) 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.
Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported here.
- Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County
- Ford County Lake, Ford County (added on June 23)
- Garnett Lake (north), Anderson County
- Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County
- Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County
- Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County (added on June 23)
- Gathering Pond, Geary County (lowered on June 23)
- Marion Reservoir, Marion County
- Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County (added on June 23)
- Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County (lifted on June 23)
What does a “warning” mean?
A warning indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the body of water should be avoided.
When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
- 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 does a “watch” mean?
A watch means that blue-green algae have been detected, and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.
During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
- 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.
KDHE investigates publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes.