Lake Afton among 14 Kansas lakes under blue-green algae warning

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

Lake Afton is among 14 bodies of water in Kansas under blue-green algae warning, health officials say.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment place Lake Afton, in Sedgwick County, under public health warning on Thursday. All contact with water, including fishing and boating, should be avoided.

The other bodies of water under warning include:

  • Big Eleven Lake in Wyandotte County
  • Camp Hawke Lake in Harvey County
  • Gathering Pond in Geary County
  • Jerry Ivey Pond in Saline County
  • Lakewood Park Lake in Saline County
  • Lebo Kids' Pond in Coffey County
  • Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area in Linn County
  • Marion Reservoir in Marion County
  • Melvern Outlet Pond in Osage County
  • Melvern Outlet Swim Pond in Osage County
  • Neosho County State Fishing Lake in Neosho County
  • South Lake in Johnson County
  • Westlake in Gage Park in Shawnee County

The KDHE says 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. Zoned lakes may have portions fully open for all recreation even if other portions are under a warning.

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.

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.