Kansas health officials warn residents to watch out for blue-green algae in lakes, ponds

Blue-Green Algae Bloom (Credit: Getty)

TOPEKA, Kan. — There aren’t any current warnings for lakes or ponds in Kansas, but state health officials still want people to be cautious of blue-green algae during this Memorial Day weekend.

Even though there are no warnings, Tom Stiles with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Water said, “People enjoying these recreational areas should always follow information on any signs, be watchful for blue-green algae and alert appropriate personnel if they observe any tell- tale signs of harmful algal blooms.”

Many species of blue-green algae produce chemical compounds that can be toxic to people, pets and livestock.

The toxins in the algae can cause skin reactions, breathing problems, diarrhea, vomiting and even death if ingested. The risks are especially high for children and the elderly.

If a warning is issued, KDHE recommends people take the following precautions:

  • Keep pets and livestock out of water.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dry algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
  • Fish may be eaten as long as they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed.

To report a potential algal bloom, you can call the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 785-296-1664.