KDHE along with officials from KDWPT have released information on the threat to the public resulting from dangerous algal blooms that have been found in Kansas waters. A dozen lakes and ponds in the state have been affected. Those that travel to these areas are urged to be aware of recreational pursuits that may be harmful to persons and pets. Livestock may also be affected by standing in or drinking these waters. Both warning and watches have been issued with the difference in threat level being dependant on blue green algae (BGA) cells per liter found in test results. No Kansas waterways have been closed because of the warning issued.
While no recommended closure orders have been issued six of the affected bodies of water have received warnings which carry certain precautions. Activites that don’t result in direct contact with the water such as fishing and boating MAY BE safe however water sking and any other acivity which do results in contact with the affected water should be avoided. If enough contact is made blue green algae may cause eye irritation, repiratory problems, abdonimal issues such as pain, vomiting and diarrhea along with sore throats, headaches and skin issues such as blisters and itchensss.
When the warnings will be lifted or if any areas affected will eventually be forced to close is unknown. Cell count of BGA levels will be monitored and further decisions will be made by the appropriate officials based on the samples collected. Temperatures play a role as do winds. Blooms can spread quickly with winds pushing them into new and previouly unaffected areas. Visitors to these affected lakes should be on the look out for signs such a scum on the surface of the water, water that is bright green or that appears to have a surface like paint appearance. If in doubt avoid such areas and keep children and pets from such areas.
Due to ever changing conditions please visit the KDHEKS site for the most current watches, warnings and possible closures of Kansas waters.