WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Before heading to a lake this Fourth of July weekend, state health officials want you to know that some lakes have harmful blue-green algae.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have put 10 Kansas lakes and ponds under a warning:

  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County
  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County (Added on June 30)
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Garnett Lake (north), Anderson County 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County (Added on June 30)
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County (Elevated on June 30)
  • Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County 
  • Parsons Lake, Neosho County (Added on June 30)
  • Riggs Park Lake, Sedgwick County (Added on June 30)

The KDHE and KDWP have put six ponds and lakes under a watch:

  • Gathering Pond, Geary County
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County (Lowered on June 30)
  • Melvern Lake, Osage County (Added on June 30)
  • Milford Lake Zones A and B, Geary County (Zone A added on July 1)
  • Norton Lake, Norton County (Added on June 30) 
  • Pomona Lake, Osage County (Added on June 30)

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.

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.

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.

For people, 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.

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. If you, or your dog, come into contact with algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water.

Suspected harmful algae bloom-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported at https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/1163

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/HAB.