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Scientists, Lawmakers Tour Lake Hopatcong With Eyes On Preventing Algae Bloom In 2020

LAKE HOPATCONG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- An algae bloom on a popular New Jersey lake kept swimmers out of the water over the summer and also hurt businesses.

Now, there has been call for more funding to make sure it doesn't happen again. On Thursday, CBS2's Alice Gainer took a tour of Lake Hopatcong, alongside lawmakers.

The four square-mile body of water was overcome by a harmful algae bloom back in June. It was green and empty and the beaches were closed.

"These restaurants and marinas and small shops have suffered tremendous economic damage over the summer," said Ron Smith, the chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Commission.

MOREBack To The Water: "No Swim Advisory" Lifted In 2 Sections Of Lake Hopatcong

Chopper 2 was over the lake on Thursday, and it looked different. According to experts, the color of the lake is starting to return to normal but it's not quite there yet.

Lake Hopatcong
Lake Hopatcong (Photo: CBS2)

"It's sort of a grey green color and that means the cyanol bacteria are starting to decompose and die off and the good algae, the fall algae, they're starting to come in as the temperature goes down," environmental consultant Dr. Fred Lubnow said.

The harmful bloom is caused by warmer temperatures and storm run-off that includes fertilizers with phosphates, but to keep the green out, a different green needs to come in.

"We need funding here. When we had a source of funding in the past we were able to control somewhat the phosphates entering the lake," Smith said.

The Commission, along with scientists, invited state senators to tour the lake.

"There's some obvious things that have to be done, the runoff, the sewer connections," Senate President Stephen Sweeney said.

FLASHBACKLake Hopatcong Algae Bloom So Bad, Officials Warn Against Even Touching The Water

Not all communities around the lake have sewers and septic runoff is an issue. Sweeney said he'll be meeting with the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner to go over reports. Scientists said they have 30 years of data on the lake.

"We've seen the temperature increase in the summer seasons, and so climate change will result in larger blooms and more frequent blooms," Lubnow said.

The area simply can't afford another canceled summer.

As for where the money will come from, scientists are looking into federal funding. The senators will look at state funding.

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