Health department warns against potential algae bloom at Melvern River Pond – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Health department warns against potential algae bloom at Melvern River Pond

Melvern River Pond (not Melvern Lake) in Osage County remains under warning of a potential bloom of blue-green algae, as it has been for several weeks.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment samples publicly accessible bodies of water for cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom in Kansas lakes. KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and other lake managers, responds by informing the public of harmful conditions.

Lakes under a warning are not closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches or lakes are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a Warning, but contact with the water should be avoided. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water; consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

KDHE and KDWPT urge pet owners to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Lake water is not good to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish can be eaten as long as they are rinsed with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Kansas public waters currently under a warning status include Melvern River Pond, which is an impounded area below the dam at Melvern Lake, and the following lakes:

  • Brown County State Fishing Lake, Brown County
  • Chisholm Creek Park Lake, Sedgwick County
  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County
  • Wildlife, Parks And Tourism Kids Pond, Pratt County
  • McPherson County State Fishing Lake, McPherson County
  • Melvern River Pond (not Melvern Lake), Osage County
  • Memorial Park Lake, Barton County
  • Milford Reservoir (zones B and C), Clay, Dickinson And Geary counties
  • Nemaha State Fishing Lake, Nemaha County
  • Plainville Township Lake, Rooks County
  • Sabetha City Lake, Nemaha County

A public health warning is issued if high levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A public health warning indicates that activities like boating and fishing may be safe, however, direct contact with water, such as wading, skiing and swimming, is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

KDHE will update these statements as conditions warrant.

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