Three lakes in neighboring Osage County are under a state warning advisory for blue-green algae.
The Kansas Department of Health, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, has issued a public health warning for 11 lakes, and a watch for three lakes, due to a harmful algal bloom, the agencies reported Friday. Three bodies of water on the warning list are Melvern Outlet River Pond, Melvern Outlet Swim Pond and Overbrook City Lake, all of Osage County.
If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe, according to state officials. However, direct contact with water — such as wading, skiing and swimming — is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock, the agencies said. The lakes currently under a watch or warning status are:
• Warning: Brown State Fishing Lake, Brown County
• Warning: Central Park Lake, Shawnee County
• Warning: Hiawatha City Lake, Brown County
• Warning: Marion County Lake, Marion County
• Warning: Melvern Outlet River Pond, Osage County
• Warning: Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Osage County
• Warning: Overbrook City Lake, Osage County
• Warning: Perry Lake (Zone A), Jefferson County
• Warning: Sam’s Pond, Syracuse, Hamilton County
• Warning: South Lake, Johnson County
• Warning: Webster Lake, Rooks County
• Watch: Milford Reservoir (all zones), Geary, Dickinson and Clay counties
• Watch: Perry Lake (Zones B, C and D), Jefferson County
• Watch: Veteran’s Lake, Cowley County
Lakes under a warning are not closed, the agencies said.
Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business, according to a news release. If swim beaches are closed, it will be specifically noted, state officials said. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms, the release said.
Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a warning, but contact with the water should be avoided, the agencies emphasized.
“It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed, and all other parts should be discarded,” the agencies said in the release. “Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake. Zoned lakes may have portions fully open for all recreation even if other portions are under a warning.”
Blooms are unpredictable; they can develop rapidly and might float around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment, state officials said. “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:
• Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
• Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
• Water contact should be avoided.
• 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.
• 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.
For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm