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County lake algae warning extended

Reservoir clear for first time in 10 weeks

Marion County Lake remains under a blue-green algae warning for a third consecutive week, but it was better news Thursday for Marion Reservoir, which got an all-clear for the first time in 10 weeks.

“It’s been a long run,” reservoir manager Kevin McCoy said. “We’ve been removing signs and barriers today. This is a welcome break.”

McCoy didn’t know why the reservoir’s streak ended in a week when 10 other lakes were placed under watches and warnings, the most for any single week this summer.

“It’s anybody’s guess,” he said. “I think every water body is unique in what it provides for a bloom.”

McCoy hopes people will notice and take advantage of the lake’s recreational opportunities.

“Memorial Day weekend we were packed at 100 percent capacity, and we’ve been marginal ever since then,” he said. “Having the 10-week downtime took a chunk out of the summer. Camping and fishing opportunities have almost always been available. It’s nice to get it to where people want to water ski or swim and the concerns are no longer present.”

Patrons at the county lake should not come into direct contact with the water through swimming, wading, water skiing, or jet skiing. Fishing from boats, docks, and shorelines is permitted, but anglers should wash after contacting water and cleaning fish. Filets are edible, but other fish portions should not be used. Pets should be kept away from the water and shorelines where dried algae may be present.

Symptoms of exposure to algae toxins include skin irritations, breathing difficulties, coughing and sneezing, and gastrointestinal problems. Children 12 and under Persons displaying symptoms of exposure should consult a medical professional.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment tests lakes weekly and issues status updates on Thursdays.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2017

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