Residents should take partial responsibility for lake algae blooms

Jul 23 2019 | 11:39 AM

    To the Editor:
    West Milford has lots of lakes.
    Many of our communities within the town are, in fact, lake communities.
    If we truly love our lakes, we can’t take them for granted,
    We must be responsible and care for them.
    I believe that the recent advisory not to swim or even touch the water on Greenwood Lake because of the high presence of cyanobacteria should be a wake up call.
    Phosphorus is the leading cause of algae bloom.
    One source of phosphorus comes from lawn fertilizers.
    There is a state and a municipal law about applying fertilizers in West Milford, especially ones containing phosphorus.
    Phosphorus also comes from septic systems, storm drains, and West Milford sewers (now maintained by Suez).
    All this runoff from lawns, septics, storm drains and sewers eventually makes it way into our lakes.
    What has exacerbated the situation, this year, are the heavy rains and the heat.
    So fellow residents, even if you don't live near a lake, some of the things we all can do to help our lakes are the following:
    Think twice about adding fertilizers and herbicides to your lawn.
    It all ends up in the lakes.
    Get a soil test kit to see what nutrients you may really need for your lawn and garden.
    Mow and leave the clippings on your lawn.
    If you live on the lake, plant indigenous plants near the edge of your property to keep runoff pollution out of the lake.
    Please make sure that your septic systems are well maintained and pumped.
    There is also a municipal law that septic systems need to be maintained and pumped every three years.
    Unfortunately, some of our laws are not enforced properly, but if we want to keep our lakes healthy, we need to look at these regulations as common sense and follow them.
    Renee B. Allessio,
    Hewitt