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

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2016

Contact
Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS, (402) 471-9356
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553

Health Alerts Issued Kirkman’s Cove and
Iron Horse Trail Lake;
Alerts End at Big Indian Creek Lake and
Swan Creek Lake 5A

Lincoln—The state has issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Kirkman’s Cove in Richardson County and Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County.  Alerts have ended at Big Indian Creek Lake in Gage County and Swan Creek Lake #5A, (also known as Willard Meyer Recreational Area) in Saline County.  

Samples taken earlier this week at Kirkman’s Cove and Iron Horse Trail 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.)  Alerts ended at Big Indian Creek Lake and Swan Creek Lake #5A after two consecutive weeks of low readings.  Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.

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.  Do not let pets get in the water or drink from the lake.  People can still use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May.  The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2016 recreational season.  Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted 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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