Newsroom > DHHS News Release

Issued jointly from the ssued 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
September 25, 2015

Contact
Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553
Leah Bucco-White, HHS Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356

Health Alert Issued for Rockford Lake;
Alerts Continue at Swan Creek Lake, Pawnee Lake, Willow Creek Lake

The state has issued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae at Rockford Lake in Gage County.  Alerts also continue to be in effect at Swan Creek Lake #5A, (also known as Willard Meyer Recreational Area) in Saline County, Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County and Willow Creek Lake in Pierce County.   

Samples taken earlier this week at the lakes were above the state’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.)  The alerts will continue at the lakes for two weeks, because lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below the threshold before the alert is discontinued.  Next week will be the final weekly sampling for the 2015 recreational season.
 
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.
 
Weekly sampling has been conducted at 50 public lakes in Nebraska since the beginning of May.  Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria are updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov.  The final results of the sampling season will be updated on the web site on Friday, Oct. 2.
 
(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 Fact Sheet.)

-30-