Fighting blue-green algae in Great Bend

GREAT BEND, Kansas — Every year there are alerts of blue-green algae invading Kansas lakes. The algae is dangerous and can cause sickness to people and can be fatal to animals.

Getting rid of blue-green algae isn’t easy but residents of Great Bend say it’s one task they are glad the city is taking on.

“I think it’s a good thing. I’d feel a lot safer bringing my kids up here if the lake got cleaned up,” said Ashley Smith, a Great Bend resident.

Blue-green algae has been a problem at Veterans Lake for some time now with signs posted at the lake telling people not to come in contact with the water because of the dangers of the algae. Now residents are glad to see that the city is now taking steps to clean it up.

“I’ve seen the signs posted and I don’t have them play anywhere near the water because if they accidentally get it in their mouth or something they’ll get sick,” said Briana Thomas, another Great Bend resident.

The plan is to use a chemical that traps phosphate, which the algae feed on. Additionally the city wants to stock the lake with fish and get rid of the large goose population that contributes heavily to the algae problem.

City officials say that their goal is to get the lake cleaned up by end of the year.

“I think once we get it cleaned up it will be a lot better lake to use and everything. That’s the real goal, to get it back to where we can use it and people can fish in it,” said Howard Partington, a city administrator in Great Bend.

During the past few summers, as many as six lakes throughout the state were off limits for swimming or boating because of blue-green algae.

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