Despite National News of Water Illness, Local Lakes Ready for Labor Day

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports Green Country lakes are ready for Labor Day visitors. It has been testing water samples throughout the summer to keep swimmers safe.

This summer, there have been two cases of Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) in Florida and Arkansas, respectively. The 12-year-old that caught the disease in Florida passed away. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports this disease is rare but its organisms are naturally present in most lakes.

The Health Department reports one known case of E. Coli in Oklahoma, though spokesperson Leslea Bennett-Webb said it is likely not related to lake water exposure.

Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Spokesperson Sara Goodeyon said local lakes undergo water sample tests five times during the spring and summer.

There is still an elevated risk of blue-green algae at some area lakes. Keystone Lake is one of them.

"We just encourage folks to educate themselves on it, make a decision, but I've been in the water all summer long," said Keystone Chief Park Ranger Travis Miller.

Miller said the organisms that cause PAM enter the body through the nose, so concerned swimmers could consider using nose plugs in the water.

Lake visitor Angie Rogers encourages her daughter to plug her nose when going underwater.

"As a mom, I'm obviously concerned about that, and I just do the best that I can. But at the same time, I don't want to take away from her childhood experiences either," Rogers said. She said she believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing everything in its power to keep lakes safe.