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

July 25, 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 Continues at Willow Creek Reservoir; Alert Ends at Red Willow Reservoir

A toxic blue-green algae health alert continues at Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County. This is the only lake in Nebraska that is currently under health alert. A health alert ended this week for Red Willow Reservoir near McCook, after the lake had two consecutive weeks of low readings for toxic blue-green algae.

Samples taken July 14 and July 21 at Willow Creek Reservoir 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.) Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is removed.

Signs have been posted at Willow Creek Reservoir to advise the public to use caution, and the swimming beach 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.)