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Why is Lake Okeechobee polluted? Blame us all

August 17, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

Late Okeechobee is the nation's second largest freshwater lake and largest lake in Florida. The lake provides drinking water for surrounding communities and serves as a source of irrigation for a $1.5 billion-a- year agricultural industry producing sugarcane, vegetables, citrus and rice.

Before South Florida was settled, Lake Okeechobee water was controlled by natural conditions and events, rainfall run off for Kissimmee River, evaporation and outflow south to the Everglades.

The state of Florida and the Army Corps of Engineers constructed an array of projects to control the lake's water level. The result was a lake surrounded by massive earthen berm, the Herbert Hoover dike.

There was one rupture of the dike that resulted in major loss of life and property.

That is a part of the history we don't want to remember.

In addition, there was tremendous obstruction and canal construction to impede and direct the water flow south of the lake to allow for development and agricultural growth.

The problems we have with Lake Okeechobee are all man made. We made it, and we polluted it. What are the sources of pollution? Big Sugar says that any water it back pumps is treated.

I must add that I don't think the goal is to just restore normal flow to the Everglades but is Everglades restoration.

Lewis Robinson

Fort Myers



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