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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

September 9, 2011

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

Health Alert Issued for Lone Star Lake in Fillmore County

The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Lone Star Lake near Tobias in Fillmore County.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 49 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May. Samples taken this week at the Lone Star Lake 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.) This is the only health alert in effect currently; Lone Star Lake also had an alert issued from July 29 to Aug. 11 this year. The alert will continue at the lake for at least two weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.

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 2011 recreational season. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site,  

Blue green algae can be a problem in any area with standing water, regardless of size. The state reminds the public that testing is not possible for all areas susceptible to algae blooms, so hunters and pet owners should visually assess conditions prior to allowing pets to enter or drink the water.

(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.)