Fix the Water


First, I’d like to thank Missy Layfield for her excellent Editorial and Keri Hendry Weeg for her article in the Sandpaper of Feb. 5th. Please read them!

I still remember the mass releases of 2013, the brown water on the beach, the heaps of stinking red drift algae on the beach, the Red Tide, causing widespread fish kill, the sore throats, watering eyes and coughs when trying to walk on the beach.

Day Visitors stayed away and many tourists curtailed their stay. Local restaurants and businesses suffered.

Everybody was up in arms. Something had to be done to cope with unusually high rainfalls, which often occur during El Nino years. Water storage basins with facilities to clean the contaminated water were to be created so that water flow could be regulated.

Now, three years later, all the Army Corps of Engineers can do is open the gates and shoot the contaminated water down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. Why has nothing been done during the last three years?

This is a man-made problem – so man needs to sort it out. Of course, it is not feasible to clear the land south of Lake O. and re-instate the River of Grass.

But we must clear up the mess we’ve made. We have¬†taken away the oxbows and straightened the river, so that natural cleaning no longer takes place. So we need to clean the water, which is contaminated by fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. before it reaches the estuaries.

It is outrageous that Big Sugar is still allowed to pump water back into Lake O untreated after they have contaminated it. They must build their own water storage basins, where the water they contaminate must be cleaned before it may be pumped back into Lake O, or channeled south to the Everglades. Why should taxpayers subsidize them?

I hope that everybody who agrees with me will contact our elected officials and urge action now, so that we are not caught napping in the future!

Gertraud Short

Fort Myers Beach