Blooming algae closes Melvern Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach

MELVERN, KS – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District announced Thursday a hazardous algae bloom at the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Kansas Department of Environment and Health has confirmed that cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae with low levels of the toxin microcystin, have been identified in the two ponds below Melvern Dam.

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is not allowed in the Outlet Park River Pond and all wading and contact with algae is discouraged. The Outlet Park Swim Beach is currently closed to all public use.  The primary risks for this scenario are for pets that may come in contact with the algae accumulated near shore and floating on the water surface.

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.

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 in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill or even die.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park Swim Beach located below Melvern Lake Dam. Boat ramps and 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. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions. 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.

For more information about Melvern Lake outlet pond conditions, call the USACE Public Affairs Office at 816-389-3486 or see http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

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