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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE NOTICES FOR JULY 27

July 27, 2012

In addition to lakes, drought is reducing stream flows; potential for algal blooms in stagnant pools

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has reported the latest results from testing water samples for blue-green algae. 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, as 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 (i.e., wading, skiing and swimming) is prohibited. Kansas public waters currently under “Warning” status:

Chisholm Creek North Lake, Sedgwick County

Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County

Logan City Lake, Phillips County

Memorial/Veterans Lake – Great Bend, Barton County

South Lake Park, Johnson 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 (i.e., wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock. Kansas public waters currently under “Advisory” status:

Milford Reservoir: north of School Creek is currently under an Advisory status, south of School Creek is not currently under an Advisory or a Warning status.

Atchison County Park Lake, Atchison County

Brown County State Fishing Lake, Brown County

Centralia Lake, Nemaha County

Deanna Rose Farmstead, Johnson County (new)

Marion Reservoir, Marion County (downgraded from a warning)

Lake Scott State Park, Scott County (new)

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.

KDHE has also issued a stream notice this week. As a result of the statewide drought, 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 initially screen or have water bodies tested for blue-green algae can be found on KDHE’s website.

Additionally, KDHE has noticed a number of pooled streams having high bacteria concentrations, presenting a risk to anyone using those pools for recreation. KDHE advises citizens to be aware of recreation activities at and above stagnant pools in streams. Those pools may contain high levels of bacteria levels. Use of public water bodies, particularly lakes and reservoirs, continues to be the best opportunity for low-risk water recreation and is encouraged.

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