WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Summer is starting to come to a close, and Kansans who want to soak up some last-minute time at the lake will need to be cautious.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment released its advisory for blue-green algae at some Kansas lakes on Friday.

The harmful algal bloom may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly; if the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away.

Louisburg City Lake in Miami County was lifted from the advisory.

Here are the Kansas lakes under a warning advisory:

  • Harvey County East Lake, Harvey County
  • Lake Afton, Sedgwick County 
  • Lovewell Lake (Reservoir), Jewell County 
  • School Street Pond (Rose Hill), Butler County
  • South Lake (Overland Park), Johnson County 

Here are the Kansas lakes under a watch advisory:

  • Augusta Santa Fe Lake, Butler County 
  • Kingston Lake, Johnson County (Added August 11)
  • Lake Parsons, Neosho County
  • Melvern Outlet River Pond, Osage County 

The state of Kansas recognizes three advisory levels: 

A hazard status indicates that a harmful algal bloom is present and extreme conditions exist.  

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone be closed to the public.
  • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.
  • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

A warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. 

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken: 

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Inhalation of spray or aerosols may be harmful.
  • 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 the skin, wash it with clean water as soon as possible.  
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.  

A Watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water. 

During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken: 

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations.
  • Water may be unsafe for humans/animals. 
  • Avoid areas of algae accumulation, and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water. 
  • Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms. 
  • Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact. 
  • Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portions only. 

Advisories are lifted when cell densities and toxin concentrations dissipate to levels below the Watch thresholds.

KDHE investigates publicly accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on credible field observation and sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.