Local lake officials warn people of toxic blue-green algae

WICHITA, Kansas – It’s been a cool few days for July in Kansas, but that’s about to change. With the hot weather we’re looking at, that means toxic blue-green algae could get even worse.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment warn people to stay out of some lakes because of that algae. Chisholm Creek Park Lake is one of them.

KDHE says it’s dangerous. The algae coating this lake could make you very sick, affecting your nervous system. They want people to stay out of the water. There aren’t any signs by the actual lake, but there is one right in the parking lot.

We spoke with a fisherman earlier, who took extra precaution before fishing in this lake.

“Most public areas, there’s going to be a sign or something that kind of indicates regulations and things to watch out for and stuff,” said fisherman, James Brandenburg.

Brandenburg is from Bentenville, Arkansas. He decided to spend some quality time fishing with his son, unaware of what lurks in Chisholm Creek Park Lake.

“You should probably check the sign before you get in. We probably should have done that before we headed out today,” Brandenburg said.

Even though he wasn’t aware of the toxic blue-green algae, Brandenburg still had a cautious mindset fishing along the lake.

“You always want to be at least somewhat cautious and have an idea of what could be there, but also treat it like there is something there anyway.”

That’s what Great Plains Nature Center wants everyone to do. They posted the sign Thursday after getting word from KDHE to warn people to avoid any contact with the water. If you do, it’s possible you could get skin lesion in or outside your body.

For them, this isn’t the first time they’ve had to post this sign.

“This is the second year that we’ve been under either a watch or a warning for part of the summer time,” said Great Plains Nature Center director Jim Mason.

Even though KDHE only test a certain number of lakes, the blue-green algae has the potential to appear in different places.

“A person should look for mattes of almost iridescent blue-green shiny algae on the surface of the water,” Mason said. “That’s an indication that this stuff may be present.”

We found out that the blue-green algae did appear in a private Wichita neighborhood lake. We talked with the president of Ridgeport Homeowner Association.

Raul Gerhardus says the blue-green algae is no longer there, but the toxins still resides in the water. That’s why the lake is still closed.

Gerhardus says a lot of people use their boats and ski’s on the lake.

They shut down the lake during the Fourth of July weekend because of what kind of toxins are in the water.

“There are neurotoxins. So they affect your nervous system,” said Gerhardus. “It can make you nauseous and cause vomiting and diarrhea. It can kill a pet, a dog, especially when they drink the water.”

The president expects the lake to be closed for another week.

If your pets drink from these infected lakes or play in the water, they too are at risk.

The blue-green algae found in the lakes can cause problems with a dog’s liver and nervous system, and with no antidote, symptoms may be hard to cure.

If your pet does consume some of the water, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

“If you had your pet recently swimming and they’re just not acting right, I would recommend contacting your veterinarian and trying to get them checked out,” said Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills veterinarian Dr. Gary Stamps.

The toxins in blue-green algae can move through a pet’s system as fast as 12 to 24 hours, so every second counts in limiting the effect it has on your animal.

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