For Immediate Release
September 1, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

High Toxin Levels of Blue Green Algae Still Present at Milford Lake

Public Health Warning remains in effect for the entire lake through the Labor Day Weekend

Topeka—Samples collected by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) indicate that high toxin levels of algal bloom are still present throughout Milford Lake in Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties. Based on samples tested at five different points around the lake, a Public Health Warning will remain in a effect through the Labor Day weekend.

Testing has revealed that the algal cell counts and toxin levels have slightly lessened from last week’s alarming highs. After reviewing that data, lake management officials with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) have lifted the water use restriction and water access for boating and fishing. Still, KDHE officials are advising lake visitors to exercise extreme caution when on or near the water. If you see a visible surface scum on the water, if the water is stained green or if you see clumps of green floating foam on the water stay away from those areas for your safety. If you do go to the lake and feel ill after water contact, notify your physician for help.

“As we have seen this summer, the condition of Milford Lake has been severe,” explained Tom Langer, Director for KDHE’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “Please understand that being allowed back on the water to boat or fish DOES NOT mean that the water is safe for body contact activities such as swimming, skiing or wading. Activities that result in body contact after the water has been sprayed into the air like jet-skiing and wake boarding are very hazardous during an algae bloom, as those water drops can not only be ingested but also inhaled. Protect your health and that of your family, friends and your pets.”

Warning signs remain posted at Milford Lake and KDHE will resample Milford Lake next week and continue to monitor the algal bloom.

KDHE will release the latest advisories and warnings for other Kansas waters later today.