As it has been all month, Marion Reservoir will remain under a blue-green algae warning for the next week while Marion County Lake has been upgraded to less significant “watch” status.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued the advisories Thursday. They will remain in effect for a week
Other Kansas lakes under warnings are Kirwin Lake in Phillips County, Sam’s Pond at Syracuse in Hamilton County, and Milford Reservoir in Geary, Dickinson and Clay counties. Watches are in effect for Sebelius Reservoir in Norton County and Webster Lake in Rooks County.
All lakes remain open, all camping sites remain available and all boat ramps are open. However, beaches at Marion Reservoir and other lakes under warnings are closed.
Direct contact with lake water via swimming and skiing is discouraged under warnings but allowed under watches.
Anglers should limit water contact and thoroughly wash hands and arms in clean water after fishing or handling fish. Fillets are safe to eat if rinsed, but heads and organs should be discarded.
Public water supplies for Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody all use Marion Reservoir as their source. However, treatment procedures were changed several years ago to make municipal water safe to consume even during algae blooms.
Blooms develop rapidly and may float around a lake. If there is scum or a paint-like surface, or the water appears bright green, a harmful bloom may be present.
Blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, come in several varieties, most of which release toxins when they die. With some species, the toxins are mild irritants. With others, they are potentially fatal neurotoxins. The exact species in any bloom cannot immediately be determined.
While no humans have died in Kansas during blue-green algae blooms, many dogs have died, and human illnesses have been reported.
Symptoms in humans include sore throat, congestion, cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, itchy or red skin, blistering, hives or other rashes, earache, agitation, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and eye irritation.
Marion Reservoir was under algae advisories throughout May and June last year. Last year’s final warning was downgraded to a watch July 14 and lifted July 21.