Marion Reservoir re-opens to public following algae bloom

Marion Reservoir has re-opened for public use, though the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has kept a warning in place.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the 6,200-acre reservoir about an hour’s drive north of Wichita last week because of dangerously high levels of blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae scum might have accumulated along the lakeshore or at campsites, which may remain closed until all scum is cleared from surfaces such as benches and picnic tables, according to a statement released by state officials.

The algae’s scum is toxic if consumed and is especially dangerous to dogs and other pets. The algae can also trigger skin rashes. Webster Lake in Rooks County is also under warning by the KDHE, while Kirwin Lake in Phillips County is under a watch.

Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities at lakes under a warning are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms.

Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a warning, state officials say, but contact with the water should be avoided. Fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak are safe to eat, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed, however.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger