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Toxic algae close reservoir beaches

Staff writer

Beaches at Marion Reservoir were closed Thursday because of toxic blue-green algae. Blue-green algae, not to be confused with normal and harmless green algae, release a powerful neurotoxin when they die.

“We have a large bloom going on right now,” Park Ranger Traci Robb said.

It is the second time this year beaches have been closed at the reservoir because of algae, she said.

The algal bloom followed multiple heavy rains in the reservoir’s watershed during the previous week. Runoff can contribute to algae problems.

“It’s pretty bad over at Marion Cove,” said Morgan Marler, water treatment plant supervisor for the City of Hillsboro.

Marion and Hillsboro both get their municipal water supplies from the reservoir. Hillsboro also sells water to Peabody.

Authorities have emphasized during previous algae blooms that municipal drinking water remained safe.

Reservoir personnel are closely following the issue.

“We check the beaches multiple times a day,” Robb said.

According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment, common symptoms of blue-green algae exposure include:

Respiratory

  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Dermatologic (skin)

  • Itchy skin
  • Red skin
  • Blistering
  • Hives
  • Other rashes

Other

  • Earache
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye irritation

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Kansas Department of Health and Environment had issued no warning or advisory related to the algae bloom at Marion Reservoir.

Last modified June 23, 2011

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