Due to blue-green algae, some Kansas lakes issued public health advisories

Kansas

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 for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.

According to the KDHE, the water recreation season in Kansas officially runs from April 1 to October 31, as do the harmful algae blooms (HAB) response program’s active operations.

This year, the season ends with some water bodies still on active advisory. The advisories will be lifted in consultation with lake managers when blooms have dissipated. However, the KDHE knows that risks may extend past the recreation season, for example, for hunting dogs. Kansans should remain vigilant year-round, according to the KDHE.

The KDHE says a HAB may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. The KDHE also says that blooms can develop rapidly. If water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, the KDHE says to avoid contact and keep dogs away. 

According to the KDHE, the 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, the KDHE says to rinse the area with clean, freshwater. 

Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported at: https://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/reporting_incidents.htm.

Active Advisories:

Warning

  • Eisenhower Park Pond, McPherson County 
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County 
  • Gathering Pond at Milford, Geary County 
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County (elevated Oct. 28) 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Lake Jeanette, Leavenworth County 
  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County 
  • Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Osage County 
  • Neosho Co SFL, Neosho County 
  • South Lake, Johnson County 

Warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure.  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 skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Watch

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County 
  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County  
  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County (lowered Oct. 28) 
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary/Dickinson/Clay Counties 
  • Peyton Creek Dam #104, Chase County 

Watch status 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 portion only.

Lifted on Oct. 28

  • Roses Lake, Johnson County 

KDHE states they investigate 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, the KDHE says to 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 information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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