State officials have removed a health alert for one Nebraska lake, while three others remain a concern.
All have had high levels of harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, but the level at Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County has returned to one that is no longer a safety threat.
A health alert remains for Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County, and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County.
Water samples taken this week at Bluestem show algal blooms levels 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.)
Although Willow Creek Lake and Swan Creek Lake 5A did not test high for microcystin this week, the lakes will remain on alert for at least one more week.
Samples at lakes must be below harmful levels for two consecutive weeks before an alert is lifted.
Public swimming beaches are closed during alerts. Boating and fishing is allowed, but the public is advised not to get in the water or allowed their pets to drink the water or get in it. Camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities are allowed.
Sampling is conducted weekly at 50 public lakes during the recreation season. Sampling results for harmful algal blooms and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, deq.ne.gov.
(For more information about potential health effects of harmful algal blooms, 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, go to http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/Beaches2017.xsp.