The state is using Milford Gathering Pond as a pilot program for treating blue-green algae in public lakes.

On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) initiated a program to treat the pond near the outlet of Milford Reservoir with a hydrogen peroxide-based algaecide.

Officials applied the treatment to 75 acres of the 100-acre surface area with a treatment depth of 3 feet. This equals 225 acre-feet of treated water.

Officials are using the project to test treatment options to reduce the frequency and duration of harmful algal bloom (HAB), which can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.

KDHE said blue-green algae in low numbers are a part of a healthy ecosystem, but when the algae reproduces rapidly, it can create a dense growth known as a bloom.

On Thursday, KDHE and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism updated its public health advisories for lakes with blue-green algae.

Currently, seven lakes have warnings, including the Milford Gathering Pond, and nine lakes are under watches.

The pond in Milford remains under a warning as officials wait to see if the treatment produces any improvement. KDHE communications director Kristi Pankratz said the organization plans to test samples from the pond this week.

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends following certain precautions:

• 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 to eat dried algae.

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

• Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

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