Blue-green algae warnings lifted for all Osage County lakes

TOPEKA – All lakes in Osage County that were previously under watch or warning status for blue-green algae have been cleared by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The two agencies lifted the warning and watch for Melvern Outlet Pond and Carbondale West Lake this week; they were the two remaining lakes in Osage County under the algae alert.

In northeast Kansas, the agencies have issued a public health warning for Frazier Lake in Grant County for the upcoming weekend and week, and South Lake Park, Johnson County, remains under a watch status.

Several lakes in Osage County experienced blue-green algae blooms over the summer, including Carbondale West Lake, Melvern Outlet Pond, Melvern Outlet Swim Pond, Overbrook City Lake, Overbrook City Kids Pond, and Pomona Lake.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as 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.

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. 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.

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. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

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