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 25, 2014

Contact Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Marla Augustine, HHS Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9108
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553

Health Alert Issued for Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County; Alert Continues at Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County

Lincoln—A health alert for toxic blue-green algae has been issued for Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County.  An alert also continues for Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.

Samples taken earlier this week indicated Swan Creek Lake was 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.  The health alert which was issued on July 18 for Willow Creek Lake will continue for at least one more week.  The alert which was issued July 11 for Rockford Lake in Gage County has ended, after it had 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 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.
 
The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2014 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  Fact Sheet.)
 
                                                           - 30 -