Water-Related News

Algae monitor sponsored by NASA installed in Lake Okeechobee

Satellite images tell us every few days how an algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee — the source of blooms in the St. Lucie River — has been growing and shrinking over the summer.

Now there's a device in the middle of the lake that will give us updates every hour.

On Thursday, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce installed a SeaPRISM on a platform in the middle of Lake Okeechobee.

The sensor developed by NASA can look into the lake every hour and, by the color of the water, determine how much blue-green algae it contains.

More:TCPalm's complete coverage of water issues

The idea is for real-time data from the SeaPRISM (Photometer Revision for Incident Surface Measurements) to be relayed to NASA and be available to researchers (and the public) on the agency's Aeronet website within a couple of hours.

The hourly data will help scientists figure out how algae blooms develop and why their size fluctuates from from week to week, month to month and year to year. That information will help them predict when algae will bloom in the lake, and that could help water managers prevent blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

Hydrilla growth in Little Lake Harris causing worry

Howey-in-the-Hills residents are alarmed that hydrilla, a pea green invasive aquatic weed, is growing out of control in Little Lake Harris and preventing people from accessing the lake from their docks, Mayor Chris Sears said Friday.

“I’m extremely concerned about the health of the lake. The hydrilla is getting just exponentially bigger and wider,” Sears said. “It looks to be halfway out in Little Lake Harris now.”

The problem is most critical in areas of the lake bordering North Lakeshore Boulevard, a couple of blocks from the historic Howey mansion, which has been refurbished and has become a popular tourist attraction for the Lake County town of about 1,200 about 40 miles northwest of downtown Orlando.

Looking for answers on how to combat the problem, Howey invited a representative of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to speak to town council members at their meeting Monday night. FWC invasive plant management biologist Nathalie Visscher is due to appear when the meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Public workshop Aug. 16 will address Wekiva Basin MFLs in the CFWI area

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MAITLAND — The St. Johns River Water Management District will hold a public workshop to discuss the peer review of Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs) for water bodies within the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) area.

This workshop will include discussion of surface water model peer review plans for MFLs water bodies within the Wekiva Basin.

The district is seeking public comment at this workshop on the district’s peer review selection criteria and on the recommended peer review panel for the surface water models that will be used in the determination and assessment of Wekiva Basin MFLs.

WHAT: Public workshop to discuss peer review selection criteria and recommended peer review panel for the surface water models that will be used for Wekiva Basin MFLs in the CFWI.

WHEN: Aug. 16, 2018, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE: SJRWMD Maitland Service Center
Wekiva and Econ rooms, 2nd floor
601 S. Lake Destiny Road
Maitland, FL 32751

To join the meeting by phone, call 1-888-670-3525 and enter passcode 4366412939#.

Establishing MFLs is an important goal in the District’s work of planning for adequate water supplies for today and for future generations while also protecting the District’s water resources. The district is setting MFLs for lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, springs and aquifers.

Groveland water plant repair to cause low water pressure

Groveland residents will experience low water pressure for eight to 10 weeks while the treatment plant on State Road 565A is shut down because of a major chlorine gas leak, city officials said.

“It is advised to minimize water usage and avoid car washing, irrigating or any other non-essential use,” the statement said, adding that reclaimed water is unaffected.

The electrical cords and electronic controls were also damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.

The malfunction at the plant initially began on July 17 and the city issued a water boil advisory for residents generally south of Cherry Lake and Lake Lucy that lasted a couple of days.

Clermont holds grand opening for Victory Pointe

CLERMONT — A standing room only crowd turned out Friday morning as Clermont held a grand opening for Victory Pointe, a stormwater treatment system/passive park and event venue.

The festivities included speeches, tours, live music by saxophonist Jay Guess and a performance by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team.

Located near downtown, Victory Pointe features ponds, boardwalks, docks, an area for staging athletic events, and a 40-foot observation tower.

It has been under construction for just over a year, and crews worked all night to make the place presentable for the big day.

“We’ve been waiting for this for years, and look what it came to be,” Mayor Gail Ash told the crowd. “You have to see it. Enjoy it. Come down. Stroll around. Have fun.”

City manager Darren Gray was the master of ceremonies, and representatives from all the city’s funding partners were present: State of Florida, St. Johns River Water Management District, Lake County, and Lake County Water Authority.

Lake County hosts collection events in August

Mark your calendar for these household hazardous waste and unwanted medication collection events

TAVARES — Lake County Solid Waste is encouraging Lake County residents to dispose of unwanted household hazardous materials and medications in a safe and environmentally conscious way at the following three upcoming collection events in August:

August 2nd – 9 a.m. to noon
Home Depot, 10825 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg
Hazardous waste and medications, in partnership with Leesburg Police

August 16th – 9 a.m. to noon
Lady Lake Convenience Center, 1200 Jackson St., Lady Lake
Hazardous waste only

August 30 – 9 a.m. to noon
Eustis Square Shopping Plaza, 218 W. Ardice Ave. Eustis
Hazardous waste only

Representatives will be on-hand to collect unused or unwanted medications in addition to small quantities of waste products such as lawn and gardening materials, photo and swimming pool chemicals, paint and related products, cleaning solutions, motor oil and gas, batteries, fluorescent lamps, light bulbs and small propane tanks.

Staff at the event will be offering convenient drive-thru disposal of items so residents won’t have to leave their vehicles. Materials such as infectious waste, solvents, chemical laboratory waste and radioactive waste are prohibited.

Excessive amounts of hazardous materials will not be accepted due to limited space in the mobile unit. If residents have large quantities of items to dispose of, a special drop-off day will be scheduled at the Central Solid Waste Facility, 13130 County Landfill Road, Tavares. To schedule a drop-off, call 352-343-3776.

The collection events are open to Lake County residents only.

For more information about this event, or to find out about future collection events, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/hazardouswaste or call Lake County Solid Waste at 352-343-3776.

Disguised stormwater treatment project to be useful, scenic

TAVARES – Work on the $5.6 million Ruby Street Stormwater Improvement and Beautification Plan, a project in downtown Tavares that has been under construction for two years, is nearing completion.

Tavares City Administrator John Drury said finishing touches should be completed in time for most of the city’s year-end holiday celebrations.

The city will hold a street party to inaugurate the project sometime in November.

“It is the kickoff to the season when all of our northern friends come back to enjoy our great climate, our great weather and our great events,” Drury said.

The project’s underlying purpose is to treat runoff storm water and direct it through pipes beneath Ruby Street to man-made ponds surrounded by wooden bridge and lush landscaping. Those ponds, which will be the centerpiece of a scenic park, will treat the runoff before it discharges into Lake Dora.

Water level update from the Lake County Water Authority

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By Anna Ely | Jul 17, 2018

May was an unusually wet month and June was slightly wetter than normal. The rainfall over the past couple of months has kept the lake levels up.

As of this morning Lake Minnehaha, the reference lake for the Clermont Chain, is at 96.53 ft. MSL, slightly below the middle of the regulatory range. The regulatory range is from 96.0 ft. to 97.50 ft. The lake is about 0.36 ft. higher than it was at this same time last year. The combined flow from Big and Little Creeks into Lake Louisa is 32 cfs (cubic ft. per second) or 14,314 gpm (gallons per minute). As a comparison, in October 2017 after Hurricane Irma, the combine flow from Big and Little Creeks was 659 cfs or 289,960 gpm. The Cherry Lake Dam is closed.

For the Harris Chain of Lakes, all the lakes are essentially at the regulatory levels. Lake Apopka is currently at 65.71 ft. which is 0.06 ft. (about 1/8 of an inch) above the regulatory level of 65.64 ft. Flow from Lake Apopka through the Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF) is at 230 cfs as of July 16th. The middle lakes (Beauclair, Carlton, Dora, Eustis and Harris) are currently at 61.98 ft., about ¼ if an inch above the regulatory level of 61.79 ft. Flow from the middles lakes through the Burrell lock and dam is at 371 cfs. For Lake Griffin, the lake is currently at 57.76 ft. which is 0.03 ft. (about 1/16 of an inch) below the regulatory level of 57.79 ft. Flow from Lake Griffin through the Moss Bluff lock and dam is at 315 cfs.

We are a month and a half into the wet season and hurricane season and are watching the lake levels closely. We will respond as necessary as the summer rainy season and the tropical storm season continues.