PRESS RELEASE
issued jointly from the
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Contact
Brian McManus, Department of Environmental Quality, (402) 471-4223
Matt Litt, DHSS, (402) 471-9313
Dave Tunink, Game and Parks Commission, (402) 471-5553
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2009
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Health Alert Ends for Pawnee Reservoir in Lancaster County


The State has discontinued a health alert for toxic blue-green algae for Pawnee Reservoir in Lancaster County, after the lake had two consecutive weeks of low readings for toxic blue-green algae. There currently are no health alerts at any of the 46 public lakes where the State is conducting weekly sampling. An alert which had been issued for Rockford Lake in Gage County ended last week.

A health alert had originally been announced June 5 at Pawnee, when samples taken at the west beach were above the State’s health alert threshold of 20 parts per billion of total Microcystins (a toxin released by certain strains of blue-green algae). However, samples taken in the past two weeks at both beaches of Pawnee Reservoir were well below the threshold. Lakes that are on health alert must have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is removed.

The lakes will continue to be monitored weekly throughout the 2009 recreational season. Sampling results for toxic algae and bacteria will be updated every Friday and posted on NDEQ’s web site, http://deq.ne.gov/

(For more information about potential health effects of toxic blue-green algae, what to look for, and steps to avoid exposure, please refer to the Toxic Algae Fact Sheet.)