Riggs Park Lake in Haysville was one of six lakes to get a public health warning from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) last week.
KDHE samples publicly accessible bodies of water for cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, when the agency is alerted to a potential algae bloom in Kansas lakes. When harmful algal blooms are present, KDHE, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and other lake managers where appropriate, responds by informing the public of these conditions.
Based upon sampling results and established health risk levels, a Public Health Warning was issued for Riggs Park Lake, along with five others in the state including the Colwich City Lake and the Buhler City Lake. A Public Health Warning means high levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected. A Public Health Warning indicates that water conditions are unsafe and direct water contact (wading, skiing and swimming) is prohibited.
When a Warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
• Humans, pets and livestock do not drink lake water.
• Water contact is prohibited. Avoid swimming, wading or other activities with full body contact of lake water.
• Clean fish and rinse with clean water, consume only the fillet portion, and discard all other parts.
• Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
• If lake water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
KDWPT reminds visitors that when a lake is under an Advisory or Warning, marinas, lakeside businesses, and park camping facilities remain open for business, although swim beaches will be closed. Park drinking water and showers are safe and not affected by the algae bloom. Also, it is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as consumers clean and rinse the fish with clean, potable water; consume only the fillet portion; and discard all other parts. People should also wash their hands with clean, potable water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.
A Public Health Advisory has been issued for Marion Reservoir and Milford Lake. That means harmful blue-green algae have been detected. A Public Health Advisory indicates that a hazardous condition exists. Water activities like boating and fishing may be safe; however, direct contact with water (i.e., wading, swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.