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KDHE BLUE-GREEN ALGAE ALERTS UPDATED

Sept. 2, 2011
Milford Reservoir still under warning, but boating and fishing allowed; Cheney removed from all listings
TOPEKA — In recent testing of Kansas lakes by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), blue-green algae levels in several lakes remain high. Samples collected at Milford Reservoir in Clay, Geary, and Dickinson counties indicate that high toxin levels of algae bloom are still present throughout. Based on samples tested at five different points around the lake, a Public Health Warning will remain in a effect through the Labor Day weekend, but the lake, previously closed, will be open to fishing and boating only. Recreational activities that involve direct contact with water — such as skiing, swimming, wading, and personal watercraft riding — are not allowed.

In other changes, Cheney Reservoir, west of Wichita, has been removed from listing and is open to all water activities. Harvey County Camp Hawk and Harvey County West lakes have been placed on the “Warning” list. Logan City Lake and Tuttle Creek River Pond have been downgraded to “Advisory” status.

Based upon the latest sampling results and established health risk levels, KDHE issues Warnings and Advisories. A “Warning” is issued when high levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Warning” indicates that water conditions are unsafe, and direct water contact (wading, skiing, and swimming) should not occur.

Blue-green algae do not affect the drinking water in state parks, and all campgrounds, marinas, and other lakeside businesses remain open for business.

KDHE samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom. When harmful algae blooms are present, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, responds by informing the public of these conditions.

Health effects from exposure to blue-green algae can vary. The most common complaints after recreational exposure include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory symptoms. These toxins also cause deaths in pets.

Current concentrations of algae in the following waters exceeded the KDHE recommended level of less than 100,000 cells/ml for recreational water use and are currently under Warning:

  • Harvey County Camp Hawk Lake (new listing);
  • Harvey County West Lake — Harvey County (new listing);
  • Santa Fe Lake — Augusta, Butler County;
  • Memorial Park Lake — Great Bend, Barton County;
  • Rigg’s Park Lake — Haysville, Sedgwick County;
  • Warnock Lake — Atchison County;
  • Harvey County East Lake — Harvey County;
  • Augusta City Lake — Augusta, Butler County;
  • Milford Reservoir — Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties; and
  • Dillon Park Lake — Hutchinson, Reno County.

When a Warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • do not drink lake water;
  • do not swim, wade, or do anything with full-body contact with lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.

An “Advisory” is issued when harmful blue-green algae have been detected. A “Public Health Advisory” indicates that a hazardous condition exists, but water activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people and pets.

KDHE has issued an Advisory for the following Kansas public waters:

  • Tuttle Creek River Pond (located below the dam) — Pottawatomie and Riley counties (previously under “Warning) — Tuttle Creek Reservoir and the discharge tube waters are not under any warning or advisory;
  • Logan City Lake — Phillips County (previously under “Warning); and
  • Marion County Lake — Marion County.

When a Advisory is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • do not drink lake water;
  • avoid swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact with lake water;
  • clean fish well, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts; and
  • keep pets from having contact with or drinking lake water.

KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update statements as conditions warrant. More information on algae and algae blooms, including up-to-date advisories and Warnings, can be found at online at www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.
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