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KDHE Issues Blue-Green Algae Warning for Lake Afton, Nine Other Kansas Waters


Lake Afton is closed to all water contact due to a blue-green algae outbreak.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a public health warning Friday for the upcoming weekend and next week. The warning is effective immediately for the entire lake.

Sedgwick County said in a news release that prohibited water contact includes swimming and water skiing. The county said fishing is permitted but fish kept for eating should be prepared using guidelines established by KDHE.

KDHE said fish caught in lakes under warning for blue-green algae should be rinsed with clean water, and only the fillet portion should be eaten.

Credit Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, flickr Creative Commons
Blue-green algae often occurs in warm, slow-moving bodies of water.

Lake Afton is one of 10 Kansas lakes and ponds that have been closed this week as a result of the toxic algae. Waters in Osage, Shawnee, Rooks, Atchison and Saline counties are also under a public health warning.

The affected water is not safe for animals to drink. Toxins from blue-green algae can be fatal to animals in as little as 15 minutes.

The KDHE tests public waters for blue-green algae when potential blooms are reported. Signs of toxic algae presence include scum, bright green water, paint-like surface and an unpleasant odor.


Ascha Lee is an intern with KMUW's Engagement team and the News Lab. Follow her on Twitter @AschaLee.