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State Warns Swimmers Of Possible Dangers In Oklahoma Waters

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Algae is always present in the water, but with all the right ingredients, that algae can quickly turn dangerous. Algae is always present in the water, but with all the right ingredients, that algae can quickly turn dangerous.
These advisory signs are posted at the entrances of some Army Corps of Engineers lakes. These advisory signs are posted at the entrances of some Army Corps of Engineers lakes.
Matt Blehm and his family are hanging out at Keystone's Washington Irving Beach, which is one of the Corps beaches that is under a blue-green algae advisory. Matt Blehm and his family are hanging out at Keystone's Washington Irving Beach, which is one of the Corps beaches that is under a blue-green algae advisory.
"Definitely don't take your children into something that looks like pea soup or paint that's been thrown on the water," Park Ranger Abby Gaydusek said. "Definitely don't take your children into something that looks like pea soup or paint that's been thrown on the water," Park Ranger Abby Gaydusek said.
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma -

If you're planning to spend your weekend at an Oklahoma Lake, you'll want to know that the Corps of Engineers has issued some blue-green algae advisories.

With the summer in full swing, campers are hitting the water at Keystone Lake.

"When the sun starts beating down on the camping area, we'll go play in the water a little," said Matt Blehm.

Blehm and his family are hanging out at Keystone's Washington Irving Beach, which is one of the Corps beaches that is under a blue-green algae advisory.

"I have small kids, so it is a concern," Blehm said.

Algae is always present in the water, but with all the right ingredients, that algae can quickly turn dangerous.

"We've had lots of heat. We've had a little bit of rain and the phosphorus and the nitrogen levels in the water increases your nutrients, and that's what develops these blue-green algae blooms," said Park Ranger Abby Gaydusek.

Gaydusek said the current levels are not toxic enough to be life threatening. But she recommends you pay close attention to small kids or pets who may accidentally drink the water.

"Definitely don't take your children into something that looks like pea soup or paint that's been thrown on the water," Gaydusek said.

Park Rangers say you should use caution when swimming or water skiing, and if you see any green, then get out immediately.

"Stay on shore, lay on the beach, get some sun, go play on the playground. You have other things you can do," Gaydusek said.

Even though there is an advisory, Blehm said it's not going to ruin his family's weekend getaway.

"We'll just monitor them, make sure they don't drink any water and shower afterward, and we'll be okay," Blehm said.

Once high levels of blue-green algae are found, the Corps will test that water weekly.

If you plan on swimming in an Oklahoma lake, health experts suggest you wear nose and ear plugs, goggles and stay away from stagnant water.

Check current Oklahoma lake conditions here

The following lakes currently have elevated blue-green algae:

Keystone Lake

Due to elevated blue green algae cell counts, contact with the water in the general vicinity of Washington Irving Beach and Appalachia Bay Beach is discouraged until toxicity tests can be completed. Visitors should not drink untreated water or let themselves or pets come in contact with areas of discolored water. If you or your pet swim in water that may have blue green algae present, rinse off with soap and fresh water. Although swimming in these areas is discouraged, visitors can still enjoy many land activities and boating at other locations around the lake.

Recent water quality tests were performed at this lake and have shown that blue green algae did not pose a concern for recreational use in the Salt Creek North Beach Area at the time the test was performed.

Lake Tenkiller

Due to elevated blue green algae cell counts, contact with the water in the general vicinity of Pine Cove, Burnt Cabin, Strayhorn PUA and Elk Creek PUA areas of Lake Tenkiller is discouraged until toxicity tests can be completed. Visitors should not drink untreated water or let themselves or pets come in contact with areas of discolored soap and fresh water. Although swimming in these areas is discouraged, visitors can still enjoy many land activities and boating at other locations around the lake.

Lake Eufaula

Testing was performed on 6/11/2013 and while blue-green algae cell counts were elevated in the Highway 9 North, Brooken Cove, Porum Landing, Belle Starr, Elm Point and Gentry Creek areas of Lake Eufaula, toxicity levels reported on 6/18/13 are below the World Health Organization threshold. Visitors should not drink untreated water or let themselves or pets come in contact with areas of discolored water. Although swimming in these areas is discouraged, visitors can still enjoy boating and many land activities around Lake Eufaula.

Skiatook Lake

Due to elevated blue green algae cell counts, contact with the water in the general vicinity of Bull Creek Peninsula is discouraged until toxicity tests can be completed. Visitors should not drink untreated water or let themselves or pets come in contact with areas of discolored water. If you or your pet swim in water that may have blue green algae present, rinse off with soap and fresh water. Although swimming in this area is discouraged, visitors can still enjoy many land activities and boating at other locations around the lake.

Recent water quality tests were performed at the Osage Park area of Skiatook Lake and have shown that blue-green algae did not pose a concern for recreational use at the time the test was performed.

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