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Nebraska Beach Water Quality - Is It Safe?

Nebraska Beach Water Quality- Is It Safe?, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights July 2018.
NDEQ conducts weekly sampling for toxic blue-green algae and E.coli bacteria at 52 public recreational lakes across Nebraska from May through September.

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) conducts weekly sampling for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), also known as toxic blue-green algae, and E.coli bacteria at 52 public recreational lakes 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.

Visit the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality's webpage 2018 Harmful Algal Blooms to view a map of lakes currently being sampled and those currently on health alert status. 

Lakes on Health Alert
When a lake exceeds the current concentration threshold of 20 ppb of the toxin Microcystin, which is associated with the presence of HABs, it is placed on Health Alert.  It must then have two consecutive weeks of readings below 20 ppb before the alert is ended.

The threshold of 20 ppb microcystin has been in effect in Nebraska since 2004, and will continue to be used through the 2018 recreational season. New research into the negative health effects of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and their associated toxins has led to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a new threshold concentration of 4 ppb. This proposal is currently under review before being finalized. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has 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 of 4 ppb at the beginning of the next recreation season.

More information about toxic algae and bacteria monitoring.

Katie Pekarek
Katie Pekarek
Extension Educator - Water Quality
Contact Katie at:
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
School of Natural Resources
912 Hardin Hall
Lincoln, NE

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