Nebraska officials issue health alert for Glenn Cunningham Lake

North Omaha lakegoers beware: Harmful algae blooms are back at Cunningham Lake.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 2:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska’s Department of Environment and Energy has issued health alerts for harmful algae blooms at Glenn Cunningham Lake in Omaha, as well as two other lakes in the state.

Samples taken earlier this week at the three lakes verified above the 8-parts-per-billion threshold of total microcystin, a toxin released by blue-green algae.

This week’s sampling marks the end of the season for the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, which typically runs between May and September. The NDEE says these blooms may persist into the fall -- avoid water that appears to have a thick greenish or reddish-brown scum to it with a bad odor.

When health alerts are issued, signs are posted to advise the public to exercise caution in the area. Designated swimming beaches at affected lakes are also closed. Recreational fishing and boating are permitted, but the public is advised to avoid exposure to the water.

Cunningham Lake was also found to have high levels of E. coli bacteria, sampling well above the 235 colonies per 100 milliliter threshold. If water is ingested from such areas that have tested high, the chances of illness associated with the bacteria significantly increase.

Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County and Iron Horse Trail Lake in Pawnee County are also under health alerts for harmful algae blooms.