Lake has long history of pollution

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    WEST MILFORD-At some 9.6 miles in length, Greenwood Lake extends well into Orange County, N.Y. and Passaic County, N.J. The lake covers 1,920 acres and is 1.2 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 57 feet according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenwood Lake has faced pollution problems for decades and the U.S. Congress initiated efforts to remedy the problems. Back in 1980 New Jersey received a Clean Lakes Program grant to conduct a Phase I diagnostic/feasibility study for Greenwood Lake and its watershed, according to an EPA website. The study analyzed the lake's condition and determined the causes of that condition, examined the watershed to determine the sources of pollution, then "evaluated solutions and recommendations for the most feasible procedures to restore and protect lake water quality." A management plan also was developed. Among the major problems found were: Massive weed growth in parts of the lake; floating stumps that formed a hazard to navigation, and anoxic, or oxygen deficient conditions in the summer months. Other problems cited were erosion caused by development and leading to sedimentation at river mouths; water taste and odor problems; non-point storm water runoff; septic and point source discharges, and internal phosphorus cycling. In 1989, Phase II Clean Lakes Program grants were awarded to New Jersey and New York for Greenwood Lake. Phase II projects were to implement in-lake restoration work, as well as critical watershed management activities to control non-point source pollution to the lake. Despite those efforts Greenwood lake continues to have a major weed problem and, in Belcher's Creek, at least one intensive pollution source.