“Catastrophic.” A “state of emergency.” That is how state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, describes the condition of the St. Lucie River after weeks of assaults by dirty water drained from Lake Okeechobee. The discharges have left the coastal waters of Martin County “putrid.” And as he points out, Sen. Negron is less prone to hyperbole than many politicians.
Unfortunately, this is just the latest such catastrophe to hit the St. Lucie. The river received similar foulings in 1998, 2003, 2005 and 2010. It happens every time Lake Okeechobee gets high enough that the level becomes a threat to the dike surrounding the lake. At that point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases water — mostly east into the St. Lucie River and west into the Caloosahatchee River. Since Florida has allowed the lake to be a cesspool for farms and suburbs, the water carries pollution.
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