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 23, 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 Ends at Red Willow Reservoir; No Alerts This Week  

The state has discontinued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Red Willow Reservoir in Gosper County, after the lake had two consecutive weeks of low readings for toxic blue-green algae.  This week, there are no health alerts in effect at any of the 46 public lakes that are tested weekly by the state.

Health alerts are issued if readings exceeded 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 the threshold before the alert is discontinued.  

When a lake is on alert, the public is advised to use caution, and the lake’s swimming beach is closed.  Recreational boating and fishing are permitted, 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 state will continue to conduct weekly sampling at 46 recreational lakes 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.)