Melvern Lake open for business despite blue-green algae warning at outlet ponds

Melvern Lake’s Coeur d’Alene swim beach awaits beach lovers even though the lake’s outlet ponds are under algae warning.

A blue-green algae warning continues for two popular ponds adjacent to Melvern Lake. A warning covering Melvern Outlet River Pond and Melvern Outlet Swim Pond was issued last week, along with an announcement of the closure of Outlet Swim Beach.

The presence of blue-green algae was confirmed in the ponds, with the warning based on cyanobacteria/toxin results from Aug. 3 and 8, 2017, testing conducted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

With the swim beach closed, those looking to swim are encouraged to go to Coeur d’Alene swim beach.

The Melvern outlet ponds are among five lakes in the state under warning for blue-green algae, including Central Park Lake, Shawnee County, Marion County Lake, Marion County, and Webster Lake, Rooks 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. 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. 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.

Another Osage County lake, Overbrook City Lake, remains under a blue-green algae watch. Also under watches are Milford Reservoir in all zones in Geary, Dickinson and Clay counties; Sam’s Pond, Syracuse, Hamilton County; South Lake, Johnson County and Villa High Lake, Thomas County.

KDHE and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advise that blooms are unpredictable and can develop rapidly. Hot and sunny weather combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. They 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. Pet owners should be aware that animals 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 safe 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 may be eaten as long as they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • 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.

KDHE samples publicly accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

See related story: Corps closes swimming beach and issues public health warning for Melvern Lake Outlet Ponds

Information thanks to KDHE and USACE Melvern Lake Update.


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