State officials tour Lake Hopatcong; closed all summer due to algae bloom

State officials received a firsthand look at New Jersey’s largest lake Thursday afternoon.

News 12 Staff

Sep 19, 2019, 11:43 PM

Updated 1,714 days ago

Share:

State officials received a firsthand look at New Jersey’s largest lake Thursday afternoon.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney and other state lawmakers took a boat out onto Lake Hopatcong. The lake’s beaches have been empty for most of the summer after the state Department of Environmental Protection issued no swimming advisories.
"We have a serious problem here. And it's not just here though, it's around the state,” Sweeney says.
The no swimming warnings didn't just affect bathers. Officials say that they had a major impact on tourism in the area. Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis tells News 12 New Jersey that for this area, 2019 was basically a lost summer.
"When people don't show up, they don't use their boats. There's no maintenance, there's no gas sold. And you can never make up for that. Once you lose that income, lose that money, you can't make it up,” Francis says. "If we have another year like this, businesses will close.”
Sweeney is a Democrat, but he came to the lake Thursday at the request of Republican state senators, including Sen. Joe Pennachhio. Pennachhio says that he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to get records from the DEP on how the advisories were issued.
"More than anything else, I want transparency,” Pennachhio says.
Sweeney says that he is working to get those records.
"Should Sen. Pennacchio get the records he's requesting from the DEP? Yes, without question. In fact, I talked to the commissioner today. We want to meet. I don't think it's just a funding solution. There's other issues that have to be addressed to get this lake healthy,” Sweeney says.
Officials say that the algae blooms were caused by a rainy spring and summer, along with warmer temperatures, which are possibly linked to climate change.
Sweeney says he and the Republican senators will be meeting with the DEP commissioner soon.
"I can't believe New Jersey has such a jewel like this. And we can't let it fall apart,” Sweeney says.
Mayor Francis says that the area cannot survive another summer like this one.
"We better start treating something early and often next spring because this is going to come back and it's going to come back worse,” he says.
Francis says that one marina owner on the lake lost at least 40% of his business this past summer due to the closures.


More from News 12
2:25
Congestion pricing set to begin next month

Congestion pricing set to begin next month

2:10
Pleasant Thursday with sunshine and light breeze in New Jersey

Pleasant Thursday with sunshine and light breeze in New Jersey

0:30
Prosecutor: Warren Township businessman arrested for insurance fraud

Prosecutor: Warren Township businessman arrested for insurance fraud

2:07
Monmouth County police patrols to crack down on distracted driving

Monmouth County police patrols to crack down on distracted driving

2:08
‘We can’t wait for a catastrophe.’ Officials call for greater consequences for rowdy teens after Jersey Shore unrest

‘We can’t wait for a catastrophe.’ Officials call for greater consequences for rowdy teens after Jersey Shore unrest

2:22
Newark high school students earn 60 college credits early as part of dual enrollment program

Newark high school students earn 60 college credits early as part of dual enrollment program

0:31
Prosecutor: Man accused of trying to rob 2 gas stations, grocery store arrested in Virginia

Prosecutor: Man accused of trying to rob 2 gas stations, grocery store arrested in Virginia

0:50
Jersey Proud: Seton Hall pep band director to retire after nearly 40 years

Jersey Proud: Seton Hall pep band director to retire after nearly 40 years

2:09
Menendez bribery trial: Jurors see texts sent between senator and wife regarding Egyptian military aid

Menendez bribery trial: Jurors see texts sent between senator and wife regarding Egyptian military aid

2:15
Officials announce multimillion-dollar project to help improve Port of New York and New Jersey

Officials announce multimillion-dollar project to help improve Port of New York and New Jersey

0:23
Route 71 Bridge connecting Belmar to Avon-by-the-Sea to reopen Friday

Route 71 Bridge connecting Belmar to Avon-by-the-Sea to reopen Friday

1:56
New Jersey marks first day of early voting for presidential primary

New Jersey marks first day of early voting for presidential primary

0:29
Charges against world’s top golfer Scottie Scheffler dropped after arrest outside PGA Championship

Charges against world’s top golfer Scottie Scheffler dropped after arrest outside PGA Championship

0:23
Police: Ex-owner of Morley’s Magic Theater in Butler accused of possessing child sex abuse materials

Police: Ex-owner of Morley’s Magic Theater in Butler accused of possessing child sex abuse materials

0:24
Police: Woman wanted for questioning in Newark shooting

Police: Woman wanted for questioning in Newark shooting

0:52
Strikes loom at 3 New Jersey hospitals as union fights for better staff-to-patient ratios

Strikes loom at 3 New Jersey hospitals as union fights for better staff-to-patient ratios

0:26
$83 million grant to renovate Brick Church Station in East Orange

$83 million grant to renovate Brick Church Station in East Orange

0:20
Police: Suspect wanted for stealing packages from Tinton Falls residence

Police: Suspect wanted for stealing packages from Tinton Falls residence

1:32
Father’s Day Gift Ideas: Exclusive Deals – Up to 50% OFF!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas: Exclusive Deals – Up to 50% OFF!

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!