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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE TESTING SHOWS IMPROVEMENT AT MILFORD

Sept. 23, 2011

Milford Reservoir downgraded to Advisory; Tuttle Creek River Pond taken off lists TOPEKA — Recent testing of select Kansas lakes by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has revealed improved blue-green algae conditions in three lakes. Samples collected at Milford Reservoir in Clay, Geary, and Dickinson counties indicate that while elevated algae toxin levels are still present, the algae cell counts have decreased. Accordingly, the lake will be downgraded from Warning status to Advisory status. The lake will be open to fishing and boating.

Waterfowl hunters in the backwater areas of Milford Wildlife Area should use caution when hunting and using hunting dogs. Elevated levels of algae and toxins may remain in these areas, particularly as the water levels drop. Residual decomposing algae that could occur in mud or slimy water can release toxins and endanger hunting dogs or people.

Tuttle Creek River Pond, below the dam at Tuttle Creek State Park, was previously under a warning but is no longer under a blue-green algae Warning or Advisory. Warnock Lake, in Atchison County, has been downgraded from Warning to Advisory.

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. The 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:

 

  • Augusta City Lake — Augusta, Butler County;
  • Augusta Santa Fe Lake — Augusta, Butler County;
  • Dillon Park Lake — Hutchinson, Reno County;
  • Harvey County Camp Hawk Lake – Harvey County;
  • Harvey County East Lake — Harvey County;
  • Harvey County West Lake — Harvey County;
  • Memorial/Veterans Park Lake — Great Bend, Barton County; and
  • Rigg’s Park Lake — Haysville, Sedgwick 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. The 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:

 

  • Milford Reservoir — Clay, Geary and Dickinson counties (downgraded from Warning);
  • Warnock Lake — Atchison County (downgraded from Warning);
  • Logan City Lake — Phillips County; 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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