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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

Chemical treatment of Hammonton Lake possible

courtesy photo

The Lake Water Quality Advisory (LWQA) Committee discussed using chemicals to treat Hammonton Lake next spring during its Aug. 8 meeting, but Committee Chairperson Dan Bachalis also said there could be alternative methods to dealing with snail populations and bladderwort growth.

Bladderwort is a pond weed that grows in dense, complex mats. It can limit water circulation, crowd out native vegetation and cause bad odors to develop in an aquatic ecosystem.

Bladderwort propagates via seed and fragmentation, making management a challenge.

“One thing we need to keep in mind is the possible use of alternative methods to spraying the lake with chemicals, and that is a discussion that we have started with public works and council,” Bachalis said.

Bachalis said ‘mystery snails,’ which are native to the southern U.S., have been found in the lake. There are also two native snail species in the lake, in smaller populations.

“Is this (mystery) snail going to cause problems and upset the balance of what’s going on in the lake?” Bachalis asked. “Or will we find out that it’s actually helping keep the lake clean?

We don’t know. That’s why we’re working with Stockton to continue the studies.

“Next year we’re going to spray [the bladderwort]” he said. “And you don’t have to worry about your property values at all. The lake is not going to become Atco Lake. I’m not saying we’ll never have a bloom of bladderwort like we had this year ever again, it could happen if you get the right conditions, but I guarantee you that this committee is going to be monitoring and has been monitoring the situation.”

The presence of spatterdock water lily is also being monitored by the committee.

However, LWQA committee member Lynnee LoCicero objected to using chemicals.

“I object to any chemicals in the water. I think that’s why I wanted to know, do you have any opinion on Diquat, and that it’s banned in the European Union? What are they doing to keep their lakes clear? There’s got to be other solutions,” LoCicero said.

Diquat was banned in the European Union in 2019 due to concerns about its effects on humans and aquatic life.

LWQA committee member Bill Parkhurst said he is for spraying the lake with chemicals.

“While we’re on the spatterdock waterlily, is there anybody here that objects to us applying chemicals next year for that?” Parkhurst said.

Bachalis said they will discuss more about spraying chemicals at the next meeting.

In other business, Bachalis discussed fixing the donated swan boats for public use.

“Another reason we want to keep the lake clean is we got a donation of swan boats from the Philadelphia Zoo for free, but they need to be fixed up,” Bachalis said.

Bachalis had a discussion with Parks and Recreation last month and the Mayor Stephen DiDonato about a funding source to fix the swan boats.

“The town has a Cultural and Recreation Fund that was started about eight years or so ago. I believe the mayor said it would run about $150,000 a year that would be available raised through taxes,” Bachalis said.

There are some issues with insurance liability that Bachalis said he will talk to the mayor about. The town would need life jackets, liability waivers and someone to monitor the boats.

Bachalis also discussed the Park Avenue sediment runoff from Lake Park washing into the Fowlers Creek storm drain.

“It’s been going on for a long time and I haven’t said anything about it, but I think it’s something we need to raise with Parks Commission about taking care of a couple of areas along Park Avenue,” Bachalis said.

The next Lake Water Quality Advisory Committee meeting will be on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Hammonton Canoe Club.


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