For Immediate Release
July 26, 2012

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

Public Health Advisories, Warnings Concerning
Blue-Green Algae in Kansas Waters

KDHE Issues Pooled Streams Notice

TOPEKA, Kan. – (July 26, 2012) The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples recreational bodies of water for cyanobacteria, commonly called 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 and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of these conditions. Based upon sampling results and established health risk levels, the following Warnings and Advisories are in place.

KDWPT reminds visitors that when a lake is under an Advisory or Warning, marinas, lakeside businesses, and park camping facilities remain open for business, although swim beaches will be closed. Park drinking water and showers are safe and not affected by the algae bloom. Also, it is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as consumers clean and rinse the fish with clean, potable water; consume only the fillet portion; and discard all other parts. People should also wash their hands with clean, potable water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

As a result of this week’s water sampling, advisories/warnings have been lifted at Herington Reservoir and Lovewell Reservoir.

“When a lake advisory has been lifted, visitors to the lake should still exercise caution and look out for algae blooms in the water, as conditions can change quickly depending on the weather and other factors,” said Farah Ahmed, PhD, Environmental Health Officer. Some algae blooms can look like foam, or a thick slurry. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown or red, and they may look like paint floating on the water. However, some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water.

CURRENT WARNINGS & ADVISORIES

WARNING:  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) is prohibited. 

Kansas public waters currently under a “Warning” status:

Chisholm Creek North Lake, Sedgwick County
Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
Logan City Lake, Phillips County
Memorial/Veterans Lake – Great Bend, Barton County
South Lake Park, Johnson County

When a Warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

ADVISORY: Harmful blue-green algae have been detected. A Public Health Advisory indicates that a hazardous condition exists. Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (i.e., wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock. 

Kansas public waters currently under an “Advisory” status:

Milford Reservoir: north of School Creek is currently under an Advisory status, south of School Creek is not currently under an Advisory or a Warning status.   
Atchison County Park Lake, Atchison County
Brown County State Fishing Lake, Brown County
Centralia Lake, Nemaha County
Deanna Rose Farmstead, Johnson County (new)
Marion Reservoir, Marion County (downgraded from a warning)
Scott State Park, Scott County (new)

When an Advisory is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken: 

KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update these statements as conditions warrant.
Please see the attached recommendations for Kansas streams.

MEDIA Contact Information:

Miranda Steele, Communications Director
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
785-296-5795 (Office)
785-260-3168 (Mobile)
msteele@kdheks.gov

Ron Kaufman, Director of Information Services
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
785-296-2281
ron.kaufman@ksoutdoors.com

David Kolarik, Chief, Public Affairs
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – KC District
816-389-3072
david.s.kolarik@usace.army.mil

PUBLIC Contact Information:

Toll Free Number 1-855-HAB-LAKE (1-855-422-5253) - Listen for up-to-date lake conditions

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, go to:
http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/algae_advisories.htm.