Public health advisories for Kansas lakes ahead of Labor Day due to blue-green algae


Blue-green algae (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) issued several public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.

Milford Lake Zones B and C are on warning levels due to very high toxin levels in water samples. These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact. Children and dogs are more susceptible to toxin exposure.

Milford Lake Zone A is currently on watch level. Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable, and conditions can change quickly. All lake visitors should use caution and remain vigilant. The Milford State Park Splash Pad offers a safe recreation option for lake visitors throughout the season.

Active Advisories


  • Altamont City Lake “Idle Hour” North Lake, Labette County (elevated Sept. 2)
  • Gathering Pond at Milford, Geary County
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
  • Hodgeman County State Fishing Lake, Hodgeman County
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County
  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County (elevated Sept. 2)
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County
  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County
  • Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Osage County
  • Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County (elevated Sept. 2)
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary County
  • Neosho County State Fishing Lake, Neosho County

South Lake, Johnson County


  • Altamont City Lake “Idle Hour” Main Lake, Labette County (lowered Sept. 2)
  • Big Hill Lake, Labette County
  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County
  • Brown State Fishing Lake, Brown County
  • Buhler City Lake, Reno County
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Lake Jeanette, Leavenworth County
  • Milford Lake Zone A, Geary County (lowered Sept. 2)
  • Parsons Lake, Neosho County
  • Pony Creek Lake, Brown County
  • Riverwalk Landing Pond, Geary County
  • Webster Reservoir, Rooks County

A warning 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.

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 portion only.

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 information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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