High amounts of HAB, E. coli found in Nebraska lakes

BEATRICE, Neb. (KLKN) — One Nebraska lake has been put under a “Health Alert” by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE).

NDEE monitors public beaches for microcystin, a toxin produced by a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).

Big Indian Lake, just south of Beatrice, has been placed under a Health Alert as it has exceeded 8 ppb of microcystin, the benchmark amount.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, symptoms of microcystin exposure include abdominal pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting and nausea, dry cough, diarrhea, blistering around the mouth, and pneumonia.

Until the Health Alert is removed, NDEE recommends residents avoid full-body contact with the lake water.

NDEE says E. coli measures have also been high in six Nebraska lakes: Bluestem Lake, Cottonmill Park Swim Lake, Fremont Lake No. 9, Lone Star Reservoir. Pawnee Lake – West Beach, and Valentine Mill Pond.

Any body of water above 235 E. coli colonies/100 ml is considered high risk for illness when swimming. Bluestem Lake has 3448 colonies/100 ml and Lone Star Reservoir has 2851 colonies/100 ml, reports NDEE.

According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of an E. coli illness include diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, and vomiting.

NDEE asks for residents to use their own judgment when it comes to having contact with these lakes.

For more information, visit deq-iss.ne.gov.

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