For Immediate Release
July 16, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Prompts Public Health Advisory
At Lovewell Reservoir, Jewell County, KS.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is advising the public to avoid contact with water in Lovewell Reservoir, which is located in the northeast corner of Jewell County, KS.

KDHE has confirmed there is a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the reservoir, prompting a public safety advisory.  Concentrations of these algae exceed the recommended level of 100,000 cells/ml by the World Health Organization for recreational water use.  Elevated levels of toxins from the algae have also been confirmed in the reservoir.

Blue-green algae are found in most surface waters and in heavy concentrations form an algae bloom. Blue-green algae blooms often resemble green paint floating on the water; in fact blooms are often mistaken as paint spills. When blue-green algae die they can produce an unpleasant smell.  These blooms can cause a number of concerns including production of toxins in the water affecting people, pets and potentially fish and shellfish.

Algae blooms often result when nutrients present in the water (nitrogen and phosphorus), temperature and other environmental conditions stimulate algae growth. The blooms result from long-term build up of nutrients in the water body. Concentrations of blue-green algae in water vary on a daily or even hourly basis due to prevailing winds and currents. In time, algae blooms will naturally die off. 

KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken at Lovewell Reservoir:

Vegetables and fruits that have been irrigated with water from Lovewell Reservoir should be thoroughly washed and rinsed with potable water before consuming.

Exposure to toxins from the algae can cause illness and is dependent on the route of the exposure.  Contact with the water, such as wading or swimming, can cause a skin rash, as well as eye, ear and throat irritation.  Ingestion or inhaling aerosols (such as from jet-skiing or boating) of contaminated water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.  If you develop similar symptoms after contact with the reservoir water, seek medical care from your healthcare provider. 

Animals, especially dogs, can also become ill. If your pet becomes ill soon after contact with the water, contact your veterinarian right away.

KDHE and Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks will continue to monitor the situation and rescind the advisory as soon as conditions warrant.

KDHE can be contacted during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, at 785-296-5500, if anyone has additional questions or concerns.

 Further information on algae and algae blooms can be found at:

http://www.kdheks.gov/befs/download/bibliography/BlueGreenAlgaeFactsheet_CEC_2004.pdf