TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has lifted two Kansas lakes from the blue-green algae advisory list while continuing to issue a public health advisory for 13 other state lakes and ponds.

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. The water may even appear as an opaque green. 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. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in the water, drink the water, or eat dried algae from the shore may become seriously ill or die. 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 lifted two lakes:

  1. Elkhorn Lake, Jackson County 
  2. Overbrook City Lake, Osage County 

The KDHE and the KDWP have put 12 Kansas lakes and ponds under a warning:

  1. Crystal Lake, Anderson County
  2. Ford County Lake, Ford County
  3. Gathering Pond, Geary County 
  4. Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  5. Kingston Lake, Johnson County
  6. Marion Reservoir, Marion County (Elevated on Oct. 20)
  7. Melvern Outlet (River) Pond, Osage County 
  8. Milford Lake Zone A, Dickinson and Geary Counties
  9. Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County 
  10. Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County 
  11. Rooks County SFL, Rooks County
  12. South Park Lake, Johnson County 

The KDHE and KDWP have put one lake under a watch:

  1. Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage 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.  

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