Blue-green algae testing

Businesses around Milford Lake want the state of Kansas to change the timing of its tests for blue-green algae at the popular recreation area.

On Monday, the leaders of Junction City and Geary County met to talk about the economic hit that testing is having on the local economy.

For most of the summer the lake has made the list of state lakes contaminated with blue-green algae. Either as an outright health risk, or the target of a health advisory.

The designation has been hurting local businesses – badly. Local leaders say the problem is the timing of the state’s tests.

“The testing is done on a Monday, the results are reported on Thursday, the lake changes hour by hour if the wind shifts, if the sun comes out, or it’s cloudy, or it’s humid,” Tom Weigand, President/CEO of Junction City Chamber of Commerce, says.

No one disagrees the decomposing algae can be toxic to humans, but locals complain the Kansas Department of Health and Environment does its testing in the wrong areas, areas where people don’t normally swim.

“The algae isn’t going to be near as present there, in that location because the water is moving,” Junction City Mayor Michael Ryan says.

The city and county want testing done closer to swimming areas, and closer to the weekend. They didn’t decide, however, how to get the state to do that.

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