TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will initiate treatment for blue-green algae at Milford Reservoir in Geary County on Tuesday, July 28, using a hydrogen peroxide-based algaecide. This project is part of the KDHE’s efforts to investigate and demonstrate in-lake treatment options to reduce the frequency and duration of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events on public waters.
Milford Reservoir – located 5 miles northwest of Junction City – has had public health advisories for blue-green algae issued regularly since 2011. In fresh water systems, HABs are usually caused by a rapid overgrowth of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Some of these can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals, so it is important to prevent, control or mitigate HABs whenever possible.
Peroxide-based algaecides can provide rapid, targeted in-lake management of HABs. Effects on desirable plants, fish and other aquatic life are negligible, and there is no water use restriction after its application, making it an ideal choice for popular reservoirs such as Milford. Samples will be collected before and after the application to carefully evaluate treatment performance as the state continues to pilot affordable and feasible tools for reducing HABs in Kansas.
While recreation activities such as fishing and boating will still be allowed during Milford’s treatment period, there will be staging areas that will be off-limits to the public. Boat ramps will still be accessible.
KDHE also announces that effective July 24, Zone B of Milford Lake has been upgraded to a warning status, in addition to Zone C. KDHE also advises the following precautions should continue to be taken:
Warning – Milford Lake, Zone B and Zone C
- Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
- Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
- Water contact should be avoided.
- Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
- Do not allow pets or livestock to eat dried algae.
- If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
- Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
Watch – Milford Lake, Zone A
- Water may be unsafe for humans/animals.
- Avoid areas of algae accumulation and do not let people/pets eat dried algae or drink contaminated water.
- Swimming, wading, skiing and jet skiing are discouraged near visible blooms.
- Boating and fishing are safe. However, inhalation of the spray may affect some individuals. Avoid direct contact with water, and wash with clean water after any contact.
- Clean fish well with potable water and eat fillet portion only.
KDHE samples Kansas’ public waters for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms; and, based on sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions. Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may be moved by wind or wave action around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum or a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a HAB may be present. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by a HAB or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.
For more information on blue-green algae and reporting potential HABs, visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.
For more information on Milford Reservoir, visit https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/Northeast-Region/Milford-Reservoir.