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

August 29, 2008

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
Tadd Barrow, UN-L Water Quality Extension, (402) 472-7783

 

Health Alert Issued for Pawnee Reservoir; Alerts Continue For Kirkman’s Cove, Iron Horse and Willow Creek

The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Pawnee Reservoir in Lancaster County. Alerts also continue to be in effect at Iron Horse Trail Lake (Pawnee County), Kirkman's Cove Reservoir (Richardson County) and Willow Creek Reservoir (Pierce County).

Samples taken earlier this week at the east and west beaches at Pawnee were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total Microcystins (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.) Kirkman's Cove and Willow Creek also had high toxin readings again this week. Although levels were below the threshold at Iron Horse Trail Lake this week, a health alert remains in effect. Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is removed.

Signs are being posted to advise the public to use caution, and the swimming beaches at the lakes will remain closed during the health alert. The public is advised to avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of water, and to make sure their pets don’t drink from the lake. People can still use the public areas for picnics and other outdoor activities.

The state will continue to conduct weekly sampling at 47 recreational lakes through September. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, www.deq.state.ne.us.

(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 pdficon.gif (914 bytes)Fact Sheet.)