TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have placed Milford Lake Zone C on a Warning Level and Milford Lake Zones A and B on Watch level advisory. Blooms can move and develop quickly with wind and warm weather, so all lake visitors should use caution and remain vigilant.
A harmful algal bloom (HAB) may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. The water may also be opaque green. If the water has an unusual appearance or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away. Blooms can produce toxins, which can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact. Symptoms vary depending upon the type of toxin and the route of exposure but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache. If you, or your dog, come into contact with algae rinse the area with clean, fresh water. Suspected HAB-related health incidents, whether human or animal, regardless of season, should be reported.
A Warning status indicates that conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Contact with the waterbody should be avoided. When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
- 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 to eat dried algae.
- If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
- Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.
A Watch status means that blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.
During the watch status, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:
- Signage will be posted at all public access locations.
- 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.
The Milford State Park Splash Pad offers a safe recreation option for lake visitors throughout the season.
For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/HAB.