TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — As sweltering heat and high temperatures push Kansans to cool off at the lake, state health officials want you to know that some lakes have harmful blue-green algae.

Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County, were elevated to a hazard advisory on Friday, July 8. A Hazard status indicates a harmful algal bloom is present, and extreme conditions exist. Here are some recommendations for these lakes:

  • 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.

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 
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Garnett Lake (north), Anderson County 
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County 
  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County 
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County 
  • Milford Lake Zone A (Elevated on July 8)
  • Norton Lake, Norton County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Parsons Lake, Neosho County 
  • Pomona Lake, Osage County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Riggs Park Lake, Sedgwick County 

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

  • Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage County (Added on July 8)
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County 
  • Melvern Lake, Osage County 
  • Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County

A 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 the skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.  
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

A 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 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. 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 more information, you can visit the KDHE’s website by clicking here.