June 18, 2020| Environment
By: Lake Hopatcong Foundation/Princeton Hydro
To prevent harmful algal blooms (HABs) in New Jersey’s largest lake, a clay-based nutrient inactivating technology called Phoslock, was applied to Lake Hopatcong's Landing Channel by Princeton Hydro this past week. This is the largest Phoslock treatment to occur in the Northeastern U.S.
“We are expecting the Phoslock treatment to limit the growth of algae and therefore reduce the occurrence of harmful algal blooms in the lake this summer, keeping it open for recreation and business,” said Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatic Resources at Princeton Hydro and leading HABs expert. “If this technology is deemed successful and cost-effective in Lake Hopatcong, we could set the precedent for large-scale HABs prevention in other lakes throughout New Jersey, and even across the nation.”
After Phoslock is applied, it sinks through the water column, binding phosphate as it moves towards the sediment. Once settled at the bottom of the lake, it forms a very thin layer and continues to bind phosphate released from the sediment, thus controlling the release of phosphorus into the lake. One pound of phosphorus has the potential to generate up to 1,100 lbs of wet algae biomass. However, 1.1 tons of Phoslock is capable of removing 24 pounds of phosphorus — that’s over 26,000 lbs of wet algae biomass not growing in the lake for every 1.1 ton of Phoslock applied. In turn, Phoslock’s ability to suspend biologically available phosphorus is therefore a major step towards improving a lake’s water quality.
You can read more about the treatment on Princeton Hydro's blog: MITIGATING HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS AT LAKE HOPATCONG: LARGEST APPLICATION OF PHOSLOCK IN NORTHEAST
This is the first project to be implemented under the NJDEP HABs Grant awarded to the Lake Hopatcong Commission in partnership with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. The purpose of this project and all projects initiated under the grant is to evaluate innovative technologies to control, prevent, or mitigate HABs on Lake Hopatcong.
You can read more about the NJDEP HABs grant projects HERE.