Health Alerts Continue at Bluestem Lake

High E. coli levels found at Branched Oak, Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake, Windmill Lake No. 5

Health alerts for harmful algal bloom continue at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County. The following lakes were found to have high E. coli levels: Branched Oak in Lancaster County, Maple Creek Recreation Area in Colfax County, Windmill Lake No. 5 in Buffalo County.

The public is advised that swimming and activities which could cause accidental ingestion of water are not permitted when a health alert for toxic blue-green algae is posted.  The designated swimming beaches are closed. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public should avoid activities that could cause accidental ingestion of water as well as full immersion in water.  The risks to humans come from external exposure (prolonged contact with skin) and from swallowing the water.  Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions, and blisters.  Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

High E. coli levels in a lake may be indicative of sewage contamination. However, affected lakes are not posted for no swimming because it has not been declared unsafe.  Rather, this notice is issued so the public is aware that the higher E. coli levels may increase the risk of illness when swimming in the affected water.

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. Testing results for all lakes can be found on the NDEQ website.