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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE ALERTS UPDATED

August 26, 2011

Water-based recreation prohibited at Milford Lake

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. Milford Reservoir, near Junction City, has been upgraded from “Advisory” status to “Warning” status. While state parks, campgrounds and area businesses will remain open at Milford Lake, officials are prohibiting any water-based activities, and lake access points will be closed because of blue-green algae levels.

Two new additions to the Warning list include the River Pond at Tuttle Creek State Park in Pottawatomie and Riley counties and Dillon Park Lake in Hutchinson. The Warning at Tuttle Creek’s River Pond, which is below the dam, does not affect Tuttle Creek Lake.

In some good news, however, Big Hill Reservoir, in Labette County, and Hillsdale Reservoir, in Miami County, have been removed from all listings.

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 algal 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. KDHE has confirmed that three dogs have died at Milford Lake due to blue-green algae exposure at Milford Lake.

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:

 

  • River Pond at Tuttle Creek State Park — Pottawatomie and Riley counties (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;
  • Logan City Lake — Phillips County;
  • Milford Reservoir — Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties (upgraded from an Advisory to a Warning); and
  • Dillon Park Lake — Hutchinson, Reno County (new listing).

 

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:

 

  • Marion County Lake — Marion County; and
  • Cheney Reservoir — Reno, Kingman, and Sedgwick counties.

 

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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