Lake Hopatcong – Senate President Steve Sweeney today toured Lake Hopatcong to discuss the State’s response to the algae bloom that closed New Jersey’s largest lake to recreational use in July.
“It’s a bittersweet time to visit Lake Hopatcong because this lake was so important to my friend and colleague, the late Senator Tony Bucco,” Senator Sweeney said. “He cared about this lake and I am honored to be able to get a deeper understanding of the issues with members of the Lake Hopatcong Commission, which his legislation created.”
Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) toured the lake with Senators Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) and Steve Oroho (R-Sussex), leaders of the Lake Hopatcong Commission and the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and Dr. Fred Lubnow, the commission’s environmental consultant, to get an understanding of the causes of the harmful algae bloom and the likelihood of its reoccurrence.
“Climate change is hitting New Jersey hard, and the algae bloom at Lake Hopatcong is just one warning sign,” said Senator Sweeney. “With water temperatures at New Jersey’s largest lake rising 3 degrees over the last 20 years, it’s clear we need a coordinated state response to protect our lakes. Frankly, we need a sense of urgency to the issue of water quality all across our state.”
The Senate President also announced on the tour that he, along with Senators Pennacchio and Oroho, will be meeting with the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, Catherine R. McCabe, in order to address the environmental issues at the lake. In particular, the meeting will focus on finding ways to fund the necessary projects that would keep an algae bloom, such as the one this summer, from closing the lake in the future.
Swimming bans at Lake Hopatcong and Greenwood Lake were just two of a series of water quality issues that hit New Jersey this summer. Newark has had to issue bottled water to residents after filters failed to adequately protect against lead in aging pipes, and South River also had a drinking water crisis this summer.