The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) initiated, on July 23, a project to treat the Milford Gathering Pond, located near the outlet of Milford Reservoir in Geary County, with a hydrogen peroxide-based algaecide. This project is part of the KDHE’s efforts to investigate and demonstrate in-lake treatment options to reduce the frequency and duration of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events on public lakes. The Milford Gathering Pond has been on a Public Health Advisory Warning due to HABs since June 27, according to a KDHE news release.

The Milford Gathering Pond has a surface area of about 100 acres. The current application is directed at a 75-acre portion of this pond, with a treatment depth of 3 feet, totaling 225 acre-feet of treated lake water. The work is being conducted by a State of Kansas contractor, utilizing an EPA-registered aquatic algaecide and precision application equipment, to complete a targeted treatment for control of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Peroxide-based algaecides can provide rapid, targeted in-lake management of HABs. Effects on desirable plants, fish and other aquatic life are negligible, and there are no water use restrictions after its application. Samples are being collected both before and after the application, to evaluate the performance of the treatment. The effectiveness of the treatment will be carefully evaluated as the state continues to pilot affordable and feasible tools to reduce HABs in Kansas.

Because the Milford Gathering Pond remains on Warning at this time, KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken:

- Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.

-Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.

- Water contact should be avoided.

- Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.

- Do not allow pets or livestock to eat dried algae.

- If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.

- Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

KDHE samples publicly-accessible bodies of water for blue-green algae when the agency receives reports of potential algae blooms in Kansas lakes. Based on sampling results, KDHE reports on potentially harmful conditions.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may be moved by wind or wave action around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum or a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present. Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, please visit www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.