Safety concerns prompted the state to close a lake in a Salina park last week, and it still remains closed. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment closed the lake at Lakewood Park last Friday. On Thursday, the agency indicated the lake will remain on the closed list.
A closed or closure status indicates that conditions are extremely dangerous for humans and pets. Harmful algal toxins and cell counts are at dangerously high levels. Any kind of contact with the water is discouraged.
When a warning is issued, officials recommend the following precautions be taken:
- Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
- Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
- Water contact should be avoided.
- Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
- Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
- If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
- Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria called “cyanobacteria,” which occurs naturally in all of Kansas waters. Under the right conditions, the algae can rapidly increase (bloom) and produce toxins. Although the blooms typically begin in May, they can occur through October or later. The blooms generally coincide with longer days and warm water temperatures and often flourish in nutrient-laden waters.
Pet owners should be aware that pets that swim in or drink water affected by Blue-Green Algae, or eat dried Blue-Green Algae may become seriously ill or die. If people or pets come into contact with pond water or dried algae, wash off the area of contact immediately with clean water. Should nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems or other unexplained illness occur, immediately contact a doctor or veterinarian.
All other water facilities within both parks, including things like spray-grounds, restrooms, and water fountains are safe.
Numerous signs have been placed around the perimeter of both ponds to make people aware.