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AUGUST BLUE-GREEN ALGAE ALERTS

August 4, 2011

Hillsdale Reservoir added to Advisory List, algae levels increase at Milford

TOPEKA — Officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism caution Kansas lake users to heed blue-green algae alert news and signs posted at lakes. KDHE staff continue to test waters when alerted to possible blue-green algae blooms. According to KDHE, Hillsdale Lake in Miami County was added to the Advisory List this week. Milford Lake, which was on the Advisory List last week, has been upgraded to the Warning List this week as blue-green algae continues to run its cycle there.

Samples taken from Cheney Lake this week show continued high levels of blue-green algae, and the lake has been kept on the Warning List.

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 have also been responsible for several deaths in dogs.

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

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.

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:

  • Milford Lake, Clay, Geary and Dickinson counties (upgraded from Advisory);
  • Cheney Lake, Kingman, Reno and Sedgwick counties;
  • Riggs Park Lake, Haysville, Sedgwick County
  • Santa Fe Lake Augusta, Butler County;
  • Memorial Park Lake, Great Bend, Barton County;
  • Warnock Lake, Atchison County (new listing);
  • Meade State Lake, Meade 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 of 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:

  • Hillsdale Lake, Miami County (new listing);
  • Big Hill Reservoir, Labette County;
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County;
  • Logan City Lake, Phillips County; and

In addition, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • do not drink 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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