TOPEKA (KSNT) – Three more Kansas lakes are under watch on Friday following reports of blue-green algae present in the water according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

On June 3, the KDHE released an updated list of lakes that are seeing increased amounts of blue-green algae. These lakes include the following:

  • Herington City Lake, Dickinson County
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County

Additionally, Garnett Lake (north), in Anderson County has been placed under a “watch” status. The only lake that is currently under a “hazard” status is Marion Reservoir in Marion County.

The blue-green algae, or harmful algal blooms (HAB), appear as foam, scum, or paint floating on the water and might be blue, green, brown, or red in coloration. Blooms can develop quickly and can be toxic to people and pets.

Toxins created by the blooms can be absorbed through ingestion, inhalation, or aerosols and even through skin contact. The symptoms that can develop after exposure can include rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache.

If you or your pet come into contact with the algal blooms, rinse the impacted area clean with fresh water. Suspected HAB-related health incidents, involving humans and/or animals, should be reported here.

If a warning status has been placed on a lake, conditions are unsafe for both humans and pets. All contact with the infected waterbody should be avoided. The KDHE recommends the following precautions for lakes with the warning status:

  • 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 the skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation

Lakes with the watch status indicate that blue-green algae have been found and a harmful bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water. The KDHE recommends the following for lakes under a watch:

  • Signage will 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 the water and wash with clean water after any contact
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portions only

If you see scum or a paint-like surface on the water, small floating blue-green clumps or filaments in the water, or if the water is an opaque green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These may represent the presence of an HAB. Pets that come into contact with the water may become seriously ill or die.

For more information on blue-green algae, click here.