Four Lake Hopatcong beaches still closed even after DEP lifts HAB advisory
LAKE HOPATCONG — Although the DEP lifted an advisory against swimming at six beaches around Lake Hopatcong because of high levels of Algae Bacteria on Wednesday four of the beaches remain closed pending a test for E.Coli by the county.
Advisories at Pebble Beach, Sand Harbor, Bass Rock Beach, Sperry Springs Beach, Beck Lane Beach and CAPP Beach were taken down by the DEP after two consecutive rounds of sampling.
Christine Davey, a chief registered environmental health specialist with the Sussex County Division of Health told the New Jersey Herald that Pebble Beach, Sand Harbor, Sperry Springs Beach and Beck Lane Beach are still closed for swimming pending a weekly test for E.coli by the county which is scheduled for today.
Davey told the Herald that Bass Rock is not used for swimming and CAPP is in Morris County and not under her department.
The results should be available by Friday afternoon or Saturday Davey told the Herald.
All the beaches are on the northwestern part of New Jersey's largest fresh water lake which is in both Morris and Sussex counties.
“We are pleased that some areas of the lake are showing improvements and that these bathing beaches may now reopen,” Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said about the DEP advisory being removed. “At the same time, the public must remain mindful of the possible presence of harmful algal blooms and avoid contact in areas where a bloom has been detected, especially when it comes to small children and pets.”
McCabe said that if testing on the Byram Bay Community Club Beach and Clearwater Beach in the same area along with the beach at Hopatcong State Park at the southern end of the lake come in at the state's recommended level the advisory could be lifted there by the weekend.
HAB occurs when cyanobacteria blooms produce a thick, bright green scum on the surface of the lake. It can also appear as “spilled paint” or “pea soup.” This appearance is often taken for granted as a normal algae bloom.
An advisory at Lake Hopatcong in June was the first of roughly a dozen bodies of water around the state where an advisory about swimming was in place. Activity such as boating that did not involve being in the water was permitted.
The DEP says HAB could be a result of recent heavy rainfall carrying nutrient-rich stormwater into lakes followed by spans of warm weather.
News reports indicate that pet owners in North Carolina and Georgia recently lost their dogs shortly after letting them splash around in bodies of water affected by the issue, which is exacerbated by environmental conditions such as high nutrients, warm temperatures and calm waters.
Experts claim dogs are more vulnerable than humans to this toxic, potentially lethal algae due to their tendency to either drink the water while bathing in it, or licking it off their fur after getting out.
Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was included in this report
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