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 9, 2010

CONTACTS
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 Red Willow Reservoir; Alert Continues At Johnson Lake

The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Red Willow Reservoir in Frontier County, and an alert continues at Johnson Lake in Gosper County, which was first placed on alert last week. A health alert has ended at Swan Creek Lake 5A near Tobias in Saline County.

Samples taken earlier this week at Red Willow 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.) Although levels were below the threshold at Johnson 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 beach at the lakes will remain closed during the health alert. Recreational boating and fishing are permitted at the lakes, but the public is advised to avoid activities that could involve accidental ingestion of 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 2010 recreational season. 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.)