OSAGE COUNTY (KSNT) – A Northeast Kansas lake under review by state health officials for potentially toxic amounts of blue-green algae is now classified at a safer level.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) previously warned that Melvern Lake in Osage County contained unsafe amounts of blue-green algae earlier this month. The lake was placed at the “Warning” status but has now been dropped to “Watch,” according to KDHE spokesman Matt Lara.

The new status means that the lake contains blue-green algae and a harmful algal bloom (HAB) is present or may develop, according to Lara. People are encouraged to avid areas where the algae accumulates and keep both pets and livestock away from the water.

A lake classified as being at the warning level means current conditions are unsafe for humans and pets. Contact with the water should be avoided. Precautions should be taken by humans, pets and livestock such as avoiding drinking the lake water, washing exposed skin with clean water and avoiding areas of algae accumulation.

Blue-green algae may appear as scum or a paint-like surface on the water. It can also look like small floating blue-green clumps or filaments in the water. Pets that come into contact with the water may become seriously ill or die due to exposure.