WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks issued their weekly blue-green algae advisory update on Friday, and there are nine bodies of water on the list.

Active advisories:


  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County 
  • Fossil Lake, Russell County (Elevated Sept. 29)
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County 
  • Lovewell Lake, Jewell County 
  • South Lake (Overland Park), Johnson County 


  • Horsethief Reservoir, Hodgeman County (Added Sept. 29)
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County (Added Sept. 29)
  • Warnock Lake, Atchison County (Lowered Sept. 29)

There are currently no bodies of water under a hazard status in Kansas.

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae is a harmful algal bloom that may look like foam, scum, or paint floating in the water. It can appear as blue, bright green, brown or red. These blooms can spread rapidly. If the water appears to be suspicious, avoid contact and keep pets away.

These toxins can be absorbed via ingestion, inhalation, and even skin contact. Symptoms can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you or your pets come into contact with the algae, rinse the area with clean, fresh water and report the incident online.

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 it 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. 

Advisories are lifted when cell densities and toxin concentrations dissipate to levels below the watch thresholds.

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.  

For more information, visit the KDHE’s website.