Water-Related News

Lake O water historically high; so is bacteria level

Water levels are up after Hurricane Irma.

And so are populations of bacteria in the water, environmental activists say.

Lake Okeechobee is at 16.21 feet, its second-highest level in 10 years, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

That’s prompted the Corps to send lake water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers that flow to the west and east coasts, respectively, in their continuing effort to protect the aging Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake.

Some two and a half billion gallons of lake water are flowing into the Caloosahatchee daily — water that has been blamed for brown murkiness and toxic blue-green algae in the past.

This time, the water is carrying an unusually high volume of bacteria kicked up by Irma, said John Cassani, the leader of Calusa Waterkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy group.