TOPEKA (KSNT) – State health officials say several Kansas lakes are impacted by blue-green algae in a recent report.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released an updated list of lakes that contain the presence of blue-green algae or harmful algal blooms (HABs). This toxic water hazard poses many health risks to both humans and animals.

Though the recreation season in Kansas is over as of Oct. 31, some lakes continue to hold large amounts of blue-green algae. These advisories will be lifted at a later date after the KDHE consults with lake managers after the algae’s presence has dissipated.

Lakes under warning-level status for blue-green algae include:

  • Amesbury Lake, Johnson County
  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County 
  • Frazier Lake, Grant County
  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County 
  • Lovewell Lake, Jewell County (Added Nov. 8)
  • South Lake (Overland Park), Johnson County 

Lakes under watch-level status for blue-green algae include:

  • Fossil Lake, Russell County 
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County (Added Nov. 8) 

Lakes can be classified at different levels in Kansas for the presence of blue-green algae: watch, warning and hazard. The KDHE recommends different precautions to those who might come into contact with lakes afflicted by the algae:

  • Watch
    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
    • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals. 
    • Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water. 
    • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms. 
    • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact. 
    • Clean fish well with clean water and eat fillet portions only. 
  • Warning
    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
    • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.
    • 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 if 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.  
  • Hazard
    • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
    • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone be closed to the public.
    • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.
    • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

According to the KDHE, toxins emitted by a HAB can cause rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat and a headache. If you or a pet comes into contact with the algae, rinse the impacted area clean with fresh water. If you come into contact with a HAB, reach out to the KDHE by filing a report online here. For more Kansas Outdoors, click here.