LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – A health alert for harmful algal blooms, toxic blue-green algae, is in effect at Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County.
According to a press release, visitors at Wagon Train State Recreation Area should avoid full-body contact activities that could lead to swallowing water. These activities include swimming, wading, jet skiing, etc. Non-contact activities that are okay to do include: boating, fishing, and camping. Dog owners are urged to keep their pets out of the water and are warned not to let their pet ingest lake water.
The release goes on to say that samples taken by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy earlier this week at Wagon Train Lake were above the health alert threshold of 8 parts per billion (ppb) of total microcystin, a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae.
This is a lower threshold than previous years, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations. The state had a set limit of ppb previously. After concluding that the new EPA threshold is based on the best scientific evidence available and is protective of public health, the state adopted new limits on ppb levels.
Lakes with beaches and lakes that allow power boating are tested every week through the summer. Sampling results will be updated every Friday. When the algal toxin levels are below 8 ppb, health alerts are lifted.
To see weekly data for the lakes sampled, click here.
For more information about harmful algal blooms, click here.