LAKE HOPATCONG, NJ – The state Department of Environmental Protection’s swimming and bodily contact advisory remains in effect for Lake Hopatcong due to a Harmful Algal Bloom. However, the state says there is no suggested limitation on more passive boating that does not involve bodily contact with lake water. Pets should also avoid contact with the water.
Boating is allowed on Lake Hopatcong but the DEP advisory cautions against recreational sports, such as water skiing, and direct contact with the water. Also, lake area officials have stressed that local restaurants and other businesses remain open, and they are encouraging area residents to visit.
According to the DEP, sampling indicates that cell counts for cyanobacteria causing the bloom remain above the New Jersey Health Advisory Guidance levels. Consequently, DEP advises continued closure of public swimming beaches and recommends the public avoid bodily contact with lake water. This means swimming and watersports such jet-skiing, water-skiing, paddle-boarding, canoeing or kayaking should be avoided.
Going forward, officials will sample Lake Hopatcong every Tuesday and Thursday. Results from the sampling will be posted to the DEP’s webpage on Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, the state will conduct weekly aerial surveillance on Wednesdays.
State officials say exposure to a harmful algal bloom can cause a range of health effects, including rashes, allergy-like reactions, flu-like symptoms, gastroenteritis, respiratory irritation and eye irritation. HABs, also known as blue-green algae. are usually a bright green, but can also appear as spilled paint, “pea soup,” or as having a thick coating or “mat” on the surface.
On Monday, DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and other DEP officials, and Fred Lubnow of Princeton Hydro attended a meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission to provide an update and answer questions about the algal bloom. Read the Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s account of that meeting.