LAWRENCE, Kan. — When it’s hot outside, the best place to be is by a pool or lake. Unfortunately, several area bodies of water are dealing with an annual foe: Blue-Green Algae. It’s caused by a combination of farm fertilizers, heavy rains, warm temps and sunlight.

Clinton Lake is under a “Watch” – the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment believes there could be harmful algae in the water

People are still allowed to swim and boat, but pets need to stay away from the water.

“Almost 98 degrees today? At this little beach, it feels comfortable,” Lawrence man Walt Clogston said.

A comfortable dip in the lake right now could be dangerous.

Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers snapped photos of possible harmful algae at Clinton Lake. It showed up near the tower and the marina.

“It’s a darker green, I’ve seen it, it looks just like John Deere paint just poured on the water,” Harms said. 

He said there’s no need to cancel your trip to any lake on “Watch,” just be cautious. 

“Swimming, water skiing, tubing, kite sailing,” Harms said. “It’s still allowed it’s just to be on the lookout and if you see any accumulation on the water, stay away from it.”

It’s incredibly important to keep pets away from the water.

“It can get on their fur and then they lick it off,” Harms said. “So, they get a really high concentration of that and could have serious problems, up to, they could pass away from ingesting the blue-green algae.”

Clogston often takes the fur-boys to a spot at Clinton Lake on hot days. He didn’t know about the Watch.

“My puppies’ health is priority number one,” Clogston said. “Probably won’t go in the water for a while.”

Big Eleven Lake in Wyandotte County is under a “Warning”, along with Lake Shawnee in Topeka. A warning means people should avoid all contact with water — no swimming or water sports.

Josh Cullum with KDHE knows the dangers of getting too close to a lot of blooms firsthand.

“I experienced some respiratory distress from it. So, as we went down to the body, I got a little bit of a headache and some soreness in the throat, some restriction and I walked away from the water a little bit, went away. Walked back, walked away again,” he described.

He said fishing is OK, but suggests cleaning fish well, before eating. And throw out the guts. 

On Monday, they collected samples from different locations across Clinton Lake. Now, it’s back to the lab to test. 

“I’m not seeing a ton right here right now, but it looks like you can see a little bit of a bloom,” Cullum said.

On the Missouri side, there are no known current advisories for Smithville, Longview or Blue Springs lakes. 

KDHE doesn’t actively take samples. So, they really rely on your reports, which Cullum said are always welcome. It’s how they keep the community safe.