September 26, 2023| Environment
By: Holly Odgers
As the leaves start to fall this autumn, remember to rake or blow your leaves away from the lake and not into it. Also, use caution when blowing them in the street as they can end up in storm drains which will eventually bring them back to the lake.
Raking or blowing leaves into the lake can introduce an abundance of decomposing leaves, raising nutrient levels. This, in turn, can trigger unwanted algae blooms and foster increased aquatic weed growth near your property. In addition, as algae and weeds proliferate and eventually die off, they cause bacteria that consume oxygen in the water, which can kill fish and other aquatic life.
To avoid these environmental issues, we recommend the following leaf management strategies:
It's important to note that each of the four municipalities surrounding Lake Hopatcong prohibits the disposal of leaves into the lake. The local ordinances can be accessed through the links provided below.
Please share this information with neighbors and lawn maintenance services who may be unaware of the detrimental effects of depositing leaves into the lake. By working together, we can protect the health of Lake Hopatcong for generations to come.
Each of the four municipalities around Lake Hopatcong prohibits disposing of leaves in the lake. The local ordinances are linked below.
Hopatcong Borough – § 143-3 General regulations.
"Disposal of leaves and other vegetative material. No person shall deposit leaves or other vegetative materials on roads or within any lake, pond, stream, or stormwater drainage system."
Jefferson Township – § 313-8 Litter in fountains and water bodies.
"No person shall throw or deposit litter, including leaves and other vegetative or yard waste, in any fountain, pond, lake, stream, bay, or any other body of water."
Mt Arlington – § 88-2 Fertilizers, use of – Prohibited conduct.
"No person shall deposit leaves or other vegetative materials on roads or within or near any lake or stormwater drainage system."
Roxbury Township – § 3-7.10 Litter in Lakes and Fountains.
"No person shall throw, sweep, or deposit litter in any fountain, pond, lake, stream, or any other body of water in a park or elsewhere within the township."
Please refer to your town's website for details on vegetative disposal or pickup.
The Borough of Hopatcong shall provide curbside collection of leaves during the month of APRIL and from OCTOBER 17th through DECEMBER 9th. Only LEAVES shall be accepted. Branches, twigs, grass clippings, rocks, or other vegetative matter shall not be accepted. Leaves are required to be placed in biodegradable brown paper bags only. Leaves in proper bags as detailed above may be brought directly to the Hopatcong Recycling Center. Brush no wider than 4” in diameter will be accepted at the recycling center. Hopatcong Residents can only utilize the recycling center. No contractors allowed. Must show proof of residency by obtaining a window decal from Borough Hall.
Grass and leaves are collected curbside only in brown paper yard bags or clearly marked containers. A limit of 50 bags of leaves will be collected weekly during regularly scheduled collection times (beginning the week of March 27, 2023, until the week of December 11, 2023). Compost material in plastic bags will not be collected.
Brush/branches must be tied in bundles & less than 3 inches in diameter. Yard waste is collected on the same day as trash/recycling. Grass, brush, and leaves cannot be mixed together. *Grass, leaves, and brush are also accepted at the Recycling Center.
Vegetative Waste pick-up is provided on a weekly basis, collected curbside every Wednesday beginning April through December. No plastic bags. Vegetative waste (leaves and grass only) may be in a trash can or container no larger than 32 gallons, or biodegradable paper lawn & leaf bags (required by the Morris County Transfer Station). Paper bags may be purchased at Home Depot, Shop-Rite, etc. Twigs, branches and sticks must be bundled and tied up (no wider than 2 feet in diameter & no longer than 4 feet in length) or placed in a disposal can.
Vegetative waste consists of grass, leaf, and brush pickup. Vegetative waste is picked up on Wednesdays beginning the first Wednesday in April and continues through the second Wednesday in December. Two bags or cans of grass, leaves, or brush or two bundles of twigs tied and not to exceed 40 lbs. or 36” inches in length may be placed curbside for pickup on Wednesday. The hauler will NOT pick up oversized landscaper barrels.
For six weeks in the spring (April 5 - May 17, 2023) and six weeks in the fall, (approximately mid-October until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), residents may place an unlimited amount of vegetative waste to the curb for pick up. After the six weeks is over, the contractor will pick up only two bags. There is no vegetative waste pick up during the week of Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day holiday. Vegetative waste pick-up begins Wednesday, April 5, 2023, and will continue every Wednesday through Wednesday, December 13, 2023.
For more simple ways you can help protect Lake Hopatcong, view our Lake-Friendly Living Guide!