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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE NOTICES FOR OCT. 12

October 12, 2012

Brown County State Fishing Lake and Lake Scott among lakes taken off lists
TOPEKA — On Oct. 11, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported the latest results from testing water samples for blue-green algae. The health advisory has been lifted at Brown County State Fishing Lake; Central Park Lake, Shawnee County; Centralia Lake, Nemaha County; Chisholm Creek Park Lake North, Sedgwick County; and Lake Scott State Park, Scott County. One lake, Hiawatha Lake in Brown County, has been downgraded from a Warning to an Advisory status.

When harmful algal blooms are present in recreational waters, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of these conditions. This past week’s testing resulted in the warnings and advisories listed below.

KDWPT reminds visitors that when a lake is under an Advisory or Warning, marinas, lakeside businesses, and park camping facilities remain open for business, although swim beaches will be closed. Park drinking water and showers are safe and not affected by the algae bloom. Also, it is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as consumers clean and rinse the fish with clean, potable water; consume only the fillet portion; and discard all other parts. People should also wash their hands with clean, potable water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

When an advisory has been lifted, health officials advise lake visitors to still exercise caution and look out for algae blooms in the water because conditions can change quickly, depending on the weather. Some algae blooms can look like foam or thick slurry. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown or red, and they may look like paint floating on the water.

Current Public Health Warnings

A Public Health Warning indicates that water conditions are unsafe and direct water contact (wading, skiing and swimming) is prohibited. These Kansas public waters are currently under “Warning” status:

Harvey County East Lake — Harvey County
Logan City Lake — Phillips County
Memorial/Veterans Lake — Great Bend, Barton County

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

• Don’t let people, pets, and livestock drink untreated lake water.
• Don’t swim, wade or engage in other activities with full body contact of lake water, including skiing or jet-skiing.
• Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
• Do not allow pets or livestock to eat dried algae.
• If lake water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Current Public Health Advisories

A Public Health Advisory indicates that a hazardous condition exists. Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets, and livestock. These Kansas public waters are currently under “Advisory” status:

Harvey County West Park Lake — Harvey County
Hiawatha Lake — Brown County (downgraded from a Warning)
McPherson County State Fishing Lake — McPherson County

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

• Don’t let people, pets and livestock drink untreated lake water.
• Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
• Do not eat or allow pets to eat dried algae.
• If lake water comes in contact with skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

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. Blue-green algae toxins can also cause deaths in pets. 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 kdheks.gov/algae-illness.

NOTE: As a result of the statewide drought, some Kansas streams and rivers are experiencing extremely low flows and, in some locations, have stopped flowing and are pooled. Pooled areas become stagnant and have the potential to develop algal blooms, some of which may be dominated by blue-green algae, whose toxins are hazardous for livestock watering. KDHE advises livestock owners to be aware of conditions on rivers and streams that appear abnormal in color and consider alternative water sources for their stock. Additional information on how to screen or have water bodies tested for blue-green algae can be found on KDHE’s website.
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