Cleanup work in Lake Hopatcong and the tributary near Prospect Point Road is continuing, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as well as information received by the Lake Hopatcong Commission (LHC) in a letter from Weldon Quarry.
Commission vice chair Dan McCarthy read a letter from Bob Weldon detailing added steps his business took to ameliorate a silt flow from the quarry into the lake. A berm was installed on the tributary flowing into the lake on the north side of Prospect Point Road to alleviate a siltation that occurred after a pipe broke in a detention basin on quarry property. The additional mitigation work consisted of placing hay bale dams in the stream to filter the water coming off the quarry. Weldon said in the letter that the bales will be removed and replaced as necessary. The quarry also removed some of the silt, which Weldon reported to be “innocuous” following a chemical analysis. He said the results were sent to the DEP.
Commissioner Anne Pravs stated that Weldon did not address the possibility of silt in the cove migrating into the main lake. Commission secretary Colleen Lyons noted that there is a silt curtain just before the tributary enters the lake.
A resident complained that a consultant brought in by the quarry would not necessarily be trustworthy. Commissioner Eric Wilsusen, who is also mayor of Jefferson Township, said that any consultant would have to be approved by the DEP and that the commission’s consultant, Princeton Hydro, would review the findings. The resident recommended that all testing be done by someone not hired through a government agency.
Weldon wrote in his letter that the quarry and the DEP are working on a plan for removing more of the silt. The DEP had also contacted the commission to explain the state’s involvement.
The stream is the same water course polluted by an oil spill from Valiant Trucking last year. Because residual oil can be disturbed when silt is removed, said McCarthy, state inspectors will oversee the cleanup by checking for chemicals, monitoring light penetration, and examining the bottom of the stream and cove. Pravs expressed frustration with Valiant: “The DEP labeled the case closed and we never learned what they did.” Lyons reported that they had installed groundwater monitoring wells, although an update has not been provided recently. Josh Osowski, the state’s representative to the commission, said that he would ask the DEP to look into the Valiant case.
McCarthy noted that Princeton Hydro needs to pay attention to the area and that the DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife should be monitoring life in the stream and lake. Commissioner Fred Steinbaum added that the LHC must be concerned with airborne particles leaving the quarry. Osowski said that if the LHC contacts the DEP, the state will examine the airborne particles.
McCarthy asked Lyons to post on the commission website correspondence from the quarry and the DEP and comments by commissioners (on which the entire commission has agreed). Commissioner Mark Crawford, who is also a member of the Roxbury Township Committee, suggested that formal statements from the commission be on the website as well.