FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 4, 2014

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


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

Nine Lakes Under Warning, One Under Advisory

TOPEKA, Kan. – (Sept. 4, 2014) 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 a lake under an Advisory or Warning is not closed unless officials deem it absolutely necessary. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities remain open for business, although swim beaches may be closed. Park drinking water and showers are safe and not affected by the algae bloom. It is generally safe to boat and fish as long as long as contact with the water is avoided. 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 water; consume only the fillet portion; and discard all other parts. People should also wash their hands with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float around the lake, requiring 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. KDHE and KDWPT urge dog owners to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

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) should be prohibited.

Kansas public waters currently under a Warning status:

BROWN COUNTY STATE FISHING LAKE, Brown County
HIAWATHA CITY LAKE, Brown County
DEANNA ROSE FARMSTEAD POND, Johnson County
CHISHOLM CREEK PARK LAKE (NORTH), Sedgwick County
MEMORIAL PARK LAKE (Veteran's Lake), Barton County
JEWELL STATE FISHING LAKE, Jewell County
LAKE WARNOCK (Atchison City Lake), Atchison County
SOUTH PARK LAKE, Johnson County
MILFORD RESERVIOR, Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties

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:

ANTIOCH PARK LAKE, Johnson County

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

KDHE will update these statements as conditions warrant.

____________________________________________
MEDIA Contact Information:

Sara Belfry
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
785-296-0461
communications@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.