WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued several public health advisories across Kansas due to blue-green algae.

According to the KDHE, a Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. They can develop rapidly. The KDHE says if the water appears suspicious or if there is decaying algae on the shore, to avoid contact and keep dogs away.

Blue-green algae toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact, according to the KDHE. The KDHE says symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you, or your dog, come into contact with algae, the KDHE says to rinse the area with clean, fresh water.

Active advisories include:

Warnings:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County 
  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County 
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County 
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County (Lowered on June 9)

A Warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure and that contact with the waterbody 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 they are 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

Watches:

  • Garnett Lake (north), Anderson County  

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 the fillet portion only. 

Lifted (No longer on advisory)

  • Herington City Lake, Dickinson County (Lifted on June 9)
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County (Lifted on June 9)

If you or your dog have a suspected HAB-related health incident, regardless of season, you should report it by clicking here.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, click here.