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Nebraska issues health alerts for 5 public lakes

Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County, Neb.
Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County, Neb.(1011 Now)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 3:53 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy issued a health alert Friday for five public lakes after toxic blue-green algae were detected in water samples.

According to the alert, “harmful algal blooms” were found in Blue Stem and Pawnee (east and west beaches) lakes in Lancaster County; Calamus Reservoir in Loup County; Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County; and Maskenthine Reservoir in Stanton County. Two lakes — Swan Creek Lake in Saline County and Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County — remain on alert.

Samples taken at the lakes earlier in the week exceeded the 8 parts-per-billion EPA limit of total microcystin — a toxin associated with certain types of blue-green algae.

During health alerts, the state posts caution signs, and some beaches are closed. Fishing and boating are permitted, but activities that could result in swallowing the water should be avoided. Pets also should stay out of the water.

The state has sampled water at 53 public lakes every week since the first week in May. Monitoring will continue through Sept. 30.

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