Harmful algal blooms and E. coli sampling

NDEQ conducts weekly sampling for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), also known as toxic blue-green algae, and E. coli bacteria at 51 public recreational lakes (54 sites in all) across Nebraska from May through September and these results are updated weekly.  Samples are typically collected on Monday and posted on the web site on Friday.

Current Lake(s) on Health Alert:  Lakes that have been placed on Health Alert must subsequently have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is ended.

20 ppb of microcystin is the limit that has been in effect in Nebraska since 2004, and will continue to be used through the 2019 recreational season.  New research into the negative health effects of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and their associated toxins has led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a new threshold concentration.  This proposal is currently under review before being finalized.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality have reviewed the proposal and the associated research and believes that the new recommendation has been made using the most current and best scientific evidence available.  As such, if a recommendation becomes finalized by the EPA, the State of Nebraska intends to adopt the new lower criteria at the beginning of the next recreation season.

Tap or click a row in the table to view a map of the lake, and its sampling history for microcystin and E. coli.

High bacteria:  unusually high readings of E. coli bacteria can also be a health concern; samples above 235 colonies per 100 ml water are considered "high."

More information

No sample or blank values:  if the value is marked "No sample" then the sample could not be collected or could not be analyzed.  For example, sample container might have broken before it was analyzed.  If the sample value is blank then the data has not been checked for validity.

Precautions and Facts Regarding Toxic Algae at Nebraska Lakes

Harmful Algal Bloom Facts  * (links to an EPA website)

More information on E. coli bacteria and its potential health effects.

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