Blue-green algae impacts 3 Kansas lakes

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) says some state lakes are being impacted by the presence of harmful algae.

The KDHE announced in a press release on Friday, May 10 that three lakes are under blue-green algae alerts this week. Harvey County East Lake is under a warning status while Lake Shawnee and Clinton Lake are under algae watches.

Lakes can be classified at different levels in Kansas for the presence of blue-green algae: watch, warning and hazard. The KDHE recommends different precautions to those who might come into contact with lakes afflicted by the algae:

  • Watch

    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.

    • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals.

    • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.

    • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.

    • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.

    • Clean fish well with clean water and eat fillet portions only.

  • Warning

    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.

    • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.

    • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.

    • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.

    • Water contact should be avoided.

    • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.

    • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.

    • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.

    • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

  • Hazard

    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.

    • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone be closed to the public.

    • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.

    • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

When do cicadas emerge in Kansas?

Jill Bronaugh with the KDHE says toxins emitted by a harmful algal bloom (HAB) can cause rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat and a headache. Blue-green algae may appear like paint or scum on the surface of the water, according to the KDHE.

If you or a pet comes into contact with the algae, rinse the impacted area clean with fresh water. If you come into contact with a HAB, reach out to the KDHE by filing a report online here.

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