Newsroom > DHHS News Release

Issued jointly from the
Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
UN-L Water Quality Extension Program
 
September 21, 2012
 
Contact
Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Marla Augustine, HHS Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553
 
Health Alert Issued for Big Indian Creek Lake
 
The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County.  This is the only health alert currently in effect. 
 
Weekly sampling has been conducted at 49 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May.  Samples taken earlier this week at Big Indian Creek Lake were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.)  The alert will be in effect at the lake for two weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued. Next week will be the final week of sampling for 2012.
 
When a health alert is issued, signs are posted to advise the public to use caution, and designated swimming beaches are closed during the alert.  Recreational boating and fishing are permitted, but the public is advised to avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of water and to avoid full immersion in water.  People can still use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.
 
Weekly monitoring for the 2012 recreational season concludes next week.  Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria are posted every Friday on NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov/.
 
(For more information about potential health effects of toxic blue-green algae, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the attached Fact Sheet.)

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