Lake Hopatcong Commission Meeting – Public Q&A -- Residents Seek Answers

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This is the third article in the series on the July 8, 2019, the Lake Hopatcong Commission meeting that was attended by over 300 residents who were seeking answers regarding the Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs).

This article provides a brief summary of the question, and answer if provided, along with a Video Recap of the entire public Q&A section of the meeting.

LHC Article III MovieCliff Lundin former Mayor of Hopatcong: We knew about these problems 40 years ago, everything mentioned tonight was known 40 years ago. We are not doing enough. Our efforts have failed. We need more resources from the State, Local, and Federal. We have not done enough to deserve this lake.

Question: NJDEP report includes the EPA recommendation, which has a higher threshold than the State of New Jersey. Why are we not following the EPA guidelines? Must we treat the entire lake as one place? Can, we say not open some areas?

Lake Hopatcong Marina: There has been an overreaction from the media, and why are the State requirements so much lower than the Federal limits. It seems like there is no exact science to this yet.

Answer: The New Jersey numbers were developed by the toxicologists and scientists from the Division of Scientific Research. The different States have different numbers; for example, California numbers are lower than New Jersey.

Donna Macalle-Holly - Lake Front Resident: What is your plan to let us know when the lake will be reopened and how will you get that information out.

Answer: the NJDEP is acutely aware of our desire to get back into the lake, and we are currently not able to give us a timeframe.

Question: Is it a citable offense to go swimming, kayaking, or fishing on Lake Hopatcong?

Answer: No

Lake Hopatcong Waterfront Owner: The last aerial flight over the lake showed that the lake was 95% clear. Why has that data not been posted?

Answer: Aerial flights are only an estimation and must also be accompanied with physical samples. Unfortunately the physical data still showed HABs. We looked at different areas of the lake to see if any section could be opened, unfortunately the physical data did not support the opening of any area of the lake at that time.

We will continue to test every Tuesday and Thursday, and when we see the cell count go below 20,000, we will do everything in our power to open either sections or the whole lake.

Lake Hopatcong Adventure Club: What is meant by heavy exposure to the water. Is it within one, four hours?

Answer: The NJDEP cannot define the amount of time that exposure to the water could cause issues.

Gerry Cramer: Where do we go if we believe we have sickness from the lake, the doctors don’t seem to be knowledgeable on the subject. There is nowhere to go.

Answer: Report the symptoms to the county board of health. The Department of Health is on the HAB committee, call 609-826-4935. There are more numbers on the website. You can also call public health nursing 973-579-0530, and they can give you information on the symptoms and the doctors that have been notified. There is no known antibiotic.

New Jersey Highlands Coalition: We are here to support a solution whatever that may be. We don’t believe that the new stormwater utility tax is necessary at this time. Until we do the research, we don’t know what the solution should be. Now is the time that volunteer measures and recommendation are over; the towns that surround the lake need to get together.

Question: The stream entering the lake near the Quarry is showing a high level of Phosphate.

Answer: Yes, the readings in that area are higher than normal (currently measures 0.07 compared to the lake’s 0.03).

Question: Are the algae’s airborne?

Answer: No

Question: If the lake owners turned on their bubblers, would that help?

Answer: It may help on a localized basis; you should get an idea of your shoreline to make sure it is positioned where it will be most effective. Contact the Lake Hopatcong Commission for more information.

Question: Will the Mayor’s support mandatory septic cleaning.

Answer: Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis stated he would.

Question: Recommendation to create a pilot test of using Aluminum Sulfate to naturalize Phosphate in Byram Bay in the spring of 2020

New Jersey Sierra Club: Recommendation to tighten up the standards, and local communities need to step up and take ownership

Series of Articles:

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Additionally, the entire Video coverage is available online (2 hours and 45 minutes)

 

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