FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2013

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


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

4 Lakes Under Warning, 3 Lakes Under Advisory, 1 Lake Lifted

TOPEKA, Kan. – (September 19, 2013) The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples publicly accessible bodies of water for cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom in Kansas lakes. When harmful algal blooms are present, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of these conditions.

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.

Kansans should be aware that during the summer months, blooms can develop rapidly, requiring lake visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface, or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

As a result of this week’s water sampling, the health advisory has been lifted at South Park Lake in Johnson County. Based upon sampling results and established health risk levels, the following Warnings and Advisories are in place.

CURRENT WARNINGS & ADVISORIES

Public Health 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:

HIAWATHA CITY LAKE, Brown County
LAKE WARNOCK (Atchison City Lake), Atchison County
LOGAN CITY LAKE, Phillips County
MEMORIAL PARK LAKE (Veteran's Lake), Barton County

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

Public Health 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:

COLWICH MEMORIAL PARK LAKE, Sedgwick County
MISSION LAKE, Brown County (Downgraded from Warning)
ROSE’S LAKE, Johnson County

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

KDHE will update these statements as conditions warrant.

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MEDIA Contact Information:

Miranda Steele, Director of Communications
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:

Receive up-to-date lake conditions at this Toll Free Number: 1-855-HAB-LAKE (1-855-422-5253).

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