Tag Archives: septic tanks

Florida, a Lake Filled Sponge!

Major Causes of Pollution: Agriculture and Bio-Solids; Sewage Treatment Plants; Septic Tanks; Urban Suburban Fertilizers; Storm Water

Google Earth image of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee reveals thousands of Lakes, not all visible, 2019

 

From the air, one really notices that Florida is like a lake filled sponge! This past weekend, Ed and I flew to Gainesville in Alachua County, and then to Titusville, in Brevard County. This time, I was looking at lakes more than rivers. From the air, Florida is a patchwork of ponds and lakes reflecting like mirrors in the sun, a strange and beautiful landscape, or shall I say “waterscape?”

During the flight, I started thinking that if water bodies could talk, it would be the lakes that would have the strongest lobby. According to a 2006 article by Sherry Boas of the Sun Sentinel, the state of Florida has over 30,000 lakes! Many like Lake Apopka, in Orange County, historically, were altered because shoreline wetlands supported successful agricultural endeavors, kind of a smaller version of Lake Okeechobee; and again, just like Lake Okeechobee, although a great industry arose, this led to the demise of the lake. But like the Indian River Lagoon, and Caloosahatchee, people rose up to “Save Lake Apopka” and continue to work on this today: Orlando Sentinel Article 2018, shared by Janet Alford: (https://www.clickorlando.com/water/how-lake-apopka-went-from-floridas-most-polluted-lake-to-the-promising)

(https://friendsoflakeapopka.wildapricot.org/timeline)
Yes indeed, Florida appears to float like a sponge in a sea of water. How we could think that our agriculture fertilizers and human sewage issues would not catch up with us on a broader level was naive. Excessive nutrients coming from humans on land are polluting waterbodies throughout the state which in turn also drain to pollute more waterbodies.  Whether it be ponds, lakes, estuaries, or the Everglades, we must wipe up our mess, clean out our sponge!

In 2018, almost pristine, Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County was compromised ~becoming full of very toxic #cyanobacteria #BlueGreenAlgae due to application of #biosolids (human sludge from sewage treatment plants “treated” and then spread on ground of fertilizer. Biosolid application that has been supported by our state government and the Dept of Agriculture is finally coming to light as a tremendous problem. DR Edie Wider of ORCA has been instrumental in bringing to light this issue: (https://www.teamorca.org) (Orlando Sentinel, Blue Cypress Lake: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-blue-cypress-sewage-pollution-20180405-story.html)
Lake Apopka in Orange & Lake Counties is the poster-child for death and destruction and the beginnings of rebirth #Florida #LoveFloridaLakes Save Lake Apopka!
Beautiful Lake Lochloosa in Alachua County very close to better known Lake Newnan, and Orange Lake. (http://www.jimporter.org/lakes/twinlakes/)

In wet times, Paynes Prairie in Alachua County becomes a lake and can be seen from many miles away ~a totally unique ecosystem, many animals even horses and buffaloes! https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/paynes-prairie-preserve-state-park

 

Approaching Titusville, I saw a phosphate mine and many, many lakes!
The many ponds and wetlands seemed to run into Lake Oclawaha that has a history with the controversial Rodman Reservoir and Cross State Barge Canal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocklawaha_River)
Lake George in Volusia and Putnam Counties is now the second largest lake in #Florida (Apopka was largest before shoreline used for Ag.) and #brackish ~Explorer, John Bartram gave the lake its name in honor of King George lll in 1765. “Welaka” was previous name from the Timucua Indians (https://myfwc.com/recreation/cooperative/lake-george/)

Historic Photos from Florida Memory:

General Collection Florida Memory, Lake Apopka, ca. 1910
General Collection Florida Memory, Juniper Creek at Lake George, 1888
General Collection Florida Memory, Carraway Fish Camp, Lake Lochloosa ca. 1969

Links:

Department of Environmental Protection, Lakes: https://floridadep.gov/search/site/Lakes

Water Atlas Program for Florida Lakes: http://www.wateratlas.usf.edu/atlasoflakes/florida/

Florida Lake Society: http://flms.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=119

JTL blog “wetlands/ponds:” https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/tag/wetlands/

 

 

Historic Mistreatment of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

This is a photo of a sewer pipe going straight into the Indian River Lagoon. (ca. 1950 photo courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
This is a photo of a sewer pipe going straight into the Indian River Lagoon. (Royal Poinciana Cottages, Jensen, ca. 1950 photo courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow.)
Draining oil, changing oil, over the IRL. Jensen 1930s. Photo courtesy of Thurlow archives.
Changing oil over the IRL, Pitchford Filling Station, Jensen 1920/30s. (Photo courtesy of Thurlow archives.)

As bad as things are today for the St Lucie/Indian River Lagoon, in the past we did things that today would be inconceivable, like having sewer lines drain directly into the river, or draining oil into the lagoon from a car…. For centuries people have put waste into the water so it could just “flush away.” Things  like this were done when very few people lived along the river and the waterways  could actually handle this misuse. Today with over a million people living along the 156 mile lagoon such ignorance  is not an option; we know better now. It is interesting to wonder what photos from today will look so atrocious as these above  in the future? Lake Okeechobee and canal releases full of filth? Fertilizing one’s yard? Herbicide and pesticide use by the water?  Septic tanks? Only  time will tell… and it always does.