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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Health Alert Issued for Wagon Train Lake In Lancaster County

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

The state has issued a health alert for Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB), also known as toxic blue-green algae, at Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County. This is the first alert of the 2020 recreational season.

Samples taken earlier this week at Wagon Train Lake were above the health alert threshold of 8 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin, which is a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae. This is a lower threshold than previous years, based on recommendations issued in 2019 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Previously, the state had set a limit of 20 ppb, but adopted the new limits after concluding that the new EPA threshold is based on the best scientific evidence available, and is protective of public health.

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 should avoid full-body contact activities that could lead to swallowing the water, such as swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing. Do not let pets get in the water or drink from the lake. People can still use the public areas for camping, picnics and other outdoor activities.

Weekly sampling has been conducted at 51 public lakes since mid-May. The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly through the end of September. Sampling results for HAB and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEE’s website, dee.ne.gov. The state’s monitoring is conducted at public lakes with swimming beaches and high public activity. HAB may also be present in other lakes in Nebraska that are not tested, so the public should use caution if they see signs of algal blooms.

For more information about HABs potential effects, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the attached Fact Sheet. To view the weekly data for the lakes sampled and to sign up for the BeachWatch listserv, go to deq-iis.ne.gov/zs/bw/.

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