WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — People wanting to hit the lake to beat the heat might want to steer clear of some lakes in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on Thursday released its weekly blue-green algae advisory, and nine Kansas lakes are on the list.

These Kansas lakes are in a warning status:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County
  • Pomona Lake, Osage County
  • Webster Lake, Rooks County
  • Wellington Lake, Sumner County
  • Mount Hope – Woodland Park Pond, Sedgwick County

One Kansas lake, Marion Lake, was lowered from a warning status to a watch status. These Kansas lakes are in a watch status:

  • Augusta Santa Fe Lake, Butler County
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
  • Marion Lake (Reservoir), Marion County
  • Milford Lake Zone A, Dickinson & Geary Counties

Kansas recognizes three advisory levels:

hazard status indicates that a harmful algal bloom is present and extreme conditions exist.  

  • 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.

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: 

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.
  • 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.  

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 should 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. 

The KDHE says advisories are lifted when cell densities and toxin concentrations dissipate to levels below the watch thresholds.

The 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.