Parks and recreation closed two Lake Shawnee coves today, here’s why

Shawnee County parks and recreation closed two coves Friday at Lake Shawnee following a sewage leak.

While adventure cove and the cove near East Ridge Road will remain closed until the Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant clearance, other parts of the lake remain open. 

Blue algae also a concern at Lake Shawnee

Algae floats in one of the closed coves at Lake Shawnee. Parks and recreation was concerned about blue green algae buildup in the lake. While only mildly irritating to humans, the algae can kill household pets.

Large amounts of algae could be seen in the cove near East Ridge Road. Parks and recreation also issued a warning about blue green algae in Lake Shawnee, which can be fatal to animals.

Parks and recreation are restricting summer activities around both coves. Camp counselors have been instructed to “not engage in activities involving the lake,” a news release said.

“We kept the kids out of the water and will until we know it’s absolutely safe,” said Mike McLaughlin, the communication and public information supervisor at Shawnee County parks and recreation. 

Last year, a similar event occurred at Lake Sherwood, which was the result of a failed pump the county was planning to replace.

Sewage leak likely tied to recent rains

A view of Lake Shawnee from a closed cove. Two coves were closed as a result of a sewage leak.

The cause of this sewage leak is unknown, but Curt Niehaus, the director of public works at Shawnee County, says county workers have a good idea of what happened.

“We’re reasonably confident the problem originated with all the rain, which increased the amount of infiltration and inflow into the sewer collection system,” Niehaus said. “The additional water overwhelmed the system.”

Much of the leaked waste is concentrated in a small, narrow area of the lake.