Long Weekend Attracts Families to Kansas Waterways
KDHE encourages lake enthusiasts to keep an eye out for algal blooms
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is advising residents that while enjoying Kansas lakes and ponds this summer, they should be watchful for blue-green algae, also known as harmful algal blooms, when swimming and boating.
“There are no current blue-green algae warnings on any Kansas lakes or ponds for this Memorial Day weekend,” said Tom Stiles of KDHE’s Bureau of Water. “However, people enjoying these recreational areas should always follow information on any signs, be watchful for blue-green algae, and alert appropriate personnel if they observe any of the tell-tale signs of harmful algal blooms.”
Before visiting a lake or pond, you can check the KDHE website at http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm for the latest information.
Kansans should be aware that harmful algal 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. Pet owners should be aware that animals 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.
When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
- Keep pets and livestock out of lake water.
- Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
- Water contact should be avoided.
- Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
- If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
- Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
- Fish may be eaten as long as they are rinsed with clean water, and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
KDHE samples publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially-harmful conditions.
For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm. To report a potential algal bloom, you can also call the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 785-296-1664.