Algal blooms saw an increase all over the state this summer—Robbinsville included.
West Town Center Lake recently underwent treatment after months of excessive algae build-up due to conditions like elevated levels of nutrients, warmer water and heavy rains that washed chemical runoff from nearby treated lawns and animal waste into the lake. Black Lagoon Pond Management, a Bordentown-based company, administered the treatment.
“This year, there has been a big problem with the overabundance of algae not only in our lakes, but around the state,” said Chris Rupp, Robbinsville’s director of public works. “It was a daily news clip on most media stations, talking about how dangerous the algae was to people and animals.”
Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest freshwater body, made headlines after it was forced to close for most of the summer due to excessive algae. It was just one of the bodies of water across the east coast that suffered from the issue.
The prominence of excessive algae in New Jersey was reported on by outlets like The New York Times. Many reports noted that the build-up was indicative of much larger issues—global warming and an aging water infrastructure.
Based on news reports and the appearance of the lake, residents expressed concerns, Rupp said, so the township opted to bring in professionals to eliminate the algae through safe chemical spraying methods. Black Lagoon, he added, was recommended by Sharbell Development Corporation.
“We were told that the algae was not harmful but needed to be treated to kill off the algae and thin out the pond weeds,” Rupp said.
Run-off typically carries high nutrient concentrations from fertilizers, rich soils and waterfowl wastes that leach directly into a body of water like West Town Center Lake. Those elevated nutrient levels, coupled with warm water temperatures, allow for algae and weeds to grow and thrive, changing the appearance and composition of the body of water.
In September, Black Lagoon applied two spray applications: an algae control spray followed by an aquatic herbicide to control vegetation the following week. The algae and vegetation were thick, so a few weeks passed before visible changes were made. Eventually, though, the algae turned black and sunk to the bottom of the lake, and the excessive vegetation thinned out.
The township plans to implement a similar treatment plan next year to prevent further algae build-up.
As far as what Town Center residents can do to keep the lake clean, Rupp says they should be mindful of what goes on their lawns and around the lake’s property.
“Stay vigilant that everything that washes into the storm water system flows into the lakes,” Rupp said.