Two lakes under public health warning due to blue-green algae

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, has reopened Marion Reservoir in Marion County, but the reservoir remains under a warning due to a harmful algal bloom.

Blue-green algae scum might have accumulated along the lake shore or at camp sites, which may remain closed until all scum is cleared from surfaces such as benches and picnic tables. Blue-green algae scum is toxic if consumed, and is especially dangerous to dogs and other pets, which are likely to attempt to eat it. The public recreating in areas where scum is present should take precautions to ensure that their pets do not consume any.

KDHE has also placed one additional lake under a warning and one under a watch. If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

The lakes currently under a watch or warning status are:

  • Warning: Marion Reservoir, Marion County
  • Warning: Webster Lake, Rooks County
  • Watch: Kirwin Lake, Phillips County

Lakes under a warning are not closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. 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. 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.