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Algae warning remains at county lake

Marion County Park and Lake was waiting for test results Tuesday from Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding concentrations of toxic blue-green algae.

The county closed the lake to watersports last week at KDHE’s recommendation after tests showed potentially dangerous concentrations of algae. The lake remained under a blue-green algae warning while waiting for results. KDHE tests a lake under a warning once a week.

Marion Reservoir has been under a less severe blue-green algae advisory for three weeks, Ranger Traci Robb said Tuesday. Beaches at the reservoir have remained open, but rangers are vigilantly watching for visible warning signs.

If rangers see a green hue to the water at beaches, they will close them, Robb said. The next KDHE test at the reservoir will be next week.

The county owns a probe that is used at the county lake and the reservoir to test for blue-green algae, but KDHE doesn’t accept the results as valid to end an advisory or warning.

According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment, common symptoms of blue-green algae exposure include: sore throat, congestion, cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, itchy skin, red skin, blistering, hives, other rashes, earache, agitation, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and eye irritation.

Blue-green algae first was reported in Marion Reservoir in 2003, at the time threatening the water supply of the cities of Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody. Municipal water supplies have not been threatened by recent outbreaks.

Some blue-green algae produce toxins, including toxins that affect the brain and other organs.

Worldwide, several cases of human and animal poisoning, including some deaths, have been documented. Blue-green algae also has been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Last modified July 20, 2011

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