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  • Writer's pictureMohammed Fuad

Council gives updates on Lake

Mayor Stephen DiDonato

HAMMONTON—A discussion regarding Hammonton Lake Park and the spraying of the lake was held during a special town council meeting on Jan. 9 at town hall. The council discussed an update regarding the lake and for the public to have a discussion with council to address concerns.

Former Hammonton Public Works Manager and Business Administrator Jerry Barberio said that the town sprayed the lake with Reward aquatic herbicide in 2016-17 with a sprayer built by current Public Works Manager Scott Rivera and Alex DeSilvio.

With the size of the lake being between 60 to 70 acres, the town was permitted to spray 30 acres per year. The permit allowed half the lake to be sprayed per year, with the reason being to stay 1,000 feet away from the outfall of the lake. This is to prevent the product from going out into Hammonton Creek.

The spraying takes about three to five days per year, according to Barberio. The town identified areas of where the bladderwort was extensive, according to a 2013-15 report.

“We had to give the DEP [New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection] a reason why we needed to do this [the spraying],” Barberio said.

“So, we had high concentrations of areas. There were some areas where we couldn't go in just because it was just too shallow,” he said.

When the town applied for the permit on June 17, 2016, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission reviewed the application and sent it back to the DEP with no additional conditions. The permit expired at the end of 2017 and on Dec. 27, 2017, a small concern was raised about endangered species being identified during the process.

Mayor Stephen DiDonato listed those concerns. The concerns were staying 1,000 feet from the outfall of the lake, the letter being written to make the public believe that the town is doing surface spraying and the chemical, which works when the lake’s depth is of two feet. There were some areas of the lake that were deeper than two feet, so the DEP wanted to know how the chemical was going to work on the bladderwort.

Councilman Steven Furgione listed six points that the Pinelands Commission is looking for, with the first two points would be the time and service of the spraying, which will take place in spring. The third point is that the town will monitor the spraying and the fourth is the products used, which was the Reward aquatic herbicide.

The remaining two points were that DuBois Associates provide answers for the spraying [DuBois Associates suggested creating a protection area for the threatened and endangered species of bladderwort, purple bladderwort and humped bladderwort, then spray the rest of the lake.] The final point is to get extensive mapping done.

Furgione then addressed questions and concerns regarding the lowering of the lake. When the lake is down, the bladderwort is exposed and when water and roots freeze, it’ll help remove the bladderwort naturally.

“Water and the roots freeze, therefore it should choke out some of the bladderwort naturally,” Furgione said.

“So that was one of the things we're trying to think of as a process, and I think you're going to see that next week. You're going to get a real bitter cold shot that will help this whole thing out,” Furgione said.

The next town council meeting is Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in town hall.


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