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

August 18, 2017

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 Alert Ends at Pawnee; Alerts Continue at Bluestem, Willow Creek Reservoir and Swan Creek Lake 5A
 
There were no new health alerts this week for harmful algal blooms, and a health alert has ended at Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County.  Alerts continue at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County.
 
Samples taken earlier this week at Bluestem 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 continue at the lake for at least two more weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.  Although Willow Creek Lake and Swan Creek Lake 5A did not test high for microcystin this week, the lakes will remain on alert for at least one more week. The alert has ended at Pawnee after two consecutive weeks of low readings.
 
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 use caution and avoid exposure to the water, particularly avoiding any activity that could lead to swallowing the 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 since the beginning of May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2017 recreational season.  Sampling results for harmful algal blooms and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, deq.ne.gov
 
(For more information about potential health effects of harmful algal blooms, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the attached Fact Sheet.  To view the weekly data for the lakes sampled, go to http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/Beaches2017.xsp. )

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