Algae warning bans wading, skiing, swimming at reservoir

Wading, skiing, and swimming at Marion Reservoir were banned Thursday under a public health advisory issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

High levels of toxic blue-green algae mean water in the reservoir is considered unsafe, and direct contact with it is prohibited.

If lake water comes in contact with skin or pet fur, visitors are advised to wash the area with clean drinking water as soon as possible.

Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink untreated lake water or consume dried algae.

Even if they do not plan to come into contact with the water, visitors are advised to avoid areas where accumulation of algae can be seen.

Only the fillet portion of fish caught from the reservoir should be eaten and then only after the fish have been cleaned and rinsed with clean water from another source.

A public health warning is the highest level of alert issued by the state. Warnings also were issued Thursday for two other bodies of water — Logan City Lake in Phillips County and Veteran’s Lake in Barton County. The state did not issue any algae advisories, a lower level warning.

Marion Reservoir and occasionally Marion County Park and Lake have been the subject of numerous algae advisories and warnings over the past decade. Campgrounds and other lake facilities remain open during warnings.

Although the cities of Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody all receive their drinking water from the reservoir, improvements in water treatment mean the municipal water supplies are deemed safe despite algae warnings.

The warning issued Thursday was the first of the season for Marion Reservoir. Warnings are issued or rescinded on Thursdays of each week as a result of testing performed on Mondays.

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