Representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will attend the next meeting of the four lake community mayors to discuss demonstration programs to help prevent another algal bloom on Lake Hopatcong next spring.
Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board President Marty Kane told the Lake Hopatcong Commission on Monday, December 9, there are four demonstration projects and about $489,000 in state funding.
The Foundation is also applying for one of up to six $1 million federal Environmental Protection Agency grants to develop mitigation technology. The grants were originally designated for the Great Lakes and Florida, but the program was expanded to include the Lake Hopatcong region, Kane said. The foundation is working with lake environmental consulting firm PrincetonHydro and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“There is no DEP-approved process for fighting algal blooms,” Kane said. He noted that a lot of companies contact the foundation with something they swear can fix the problem: circulators, aerators, aluminum. Peroxide, or SONAR.
He said both of New Jersey’s senators and six members of Congress, including the three who represent the lake region, all signed a letter of support for the grant applications, as did the three state Senators and four mayors and councils.
The Foundation is also partnering with Greenwood Lake and Deal Lake and hoping to grow an organization of public lakes around the state to advocate for funding to go to fresh water bodies rather than just the shore. Kane said there should be enough money to go around.
Foundation President Jessica Murphy said Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake are already cooperating. She said Greenwood Lake’s association is starting a dock number program based on the one used at Lake Hopatcong.
In his state park report, Osowski said the state is speaking with Roxbury Township about extending the sewer line to the state park. Commissioner Mark Crawford, a Roxbury councilman, said there is no hold-up on the township’s part.
Hopatcong Borough Mayor Michael Francis said he is pursing connecting 50 homes on Hudson Avenue to the borough sewer.
The homes on Crescent Cove are not the only houses in Hopatcong on septic, but the cove is always the worst area for weeds and was seriously impacted by this summer’s algal bloom.
Francis said he is meeting with the DEP about taking the septics off line. He noted the lakefront lots are small and Gov. Phil Murphy supports the switch from septic to sewer. A new user pays for the hookup, but Francis is exploring a loan forgiveness program. There is an annual electric fee the homeowners will have to pay, he said.
The mayor wants to install 28 aerators in the 90-acre cove. He also wants to eliminate the herbicides property owners use to kill weeds in the lake.
Referring to Crescent Cove as “a sick pond,” Francis said, “If we can make Crescent Cove clean, we can look at other coves.”