Corps closes swimming beach and issues public health warning for Melvern Lake Outlet Ponds

MELVERN, Kan. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today the existence of a blue-green algae bloom at the Outlet Campground River Pond and Outlet Swim Beach/Fish Rearing Pond downstream of Melvern Lake, in Osage County, Kan.

These ponds are currently under a warning based on cyanobacteria and toxin results from Aug. 3, 2017, testing conducted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. As a result, the swim beach at Outlet Swim Beach/Fish Rearing Pond is closed until further notice.  All other facilities in Outlet Park and Melvern Lake remain open.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Campground River Pond and Outlet Swim Beach/Fish Rearing Pond below Melvern Lake Dam. Lake visitors can still use the Coeur d’ Alene swim beach on the main lake. Boat ramps and main lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms.

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float or drift 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 all water contact and keep pets away.

When a warning is issued, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends the following precautions be taken:

  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation
  • Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, discarding other parts.
  • Humans, pets and livestock should not drink or contact untreated lake water.
  • Do not eat or allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water comes in contact with skin or pet fur, wash with clean water as soon as possible.

Pet owners need to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or that eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill.

KDHE will continue to monitor these public waters and will update the status as conditions warrant. For more information contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Melvern Lake at 785-549-3318.


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