Lake Okeechobee is being contaminated with high pollution levels from all around.
TCPalm’s exclusive investigation into Florida’s flagship program to limit nutrient pollution flowing into Lake O is the first one to show that every single rainfall runoff drainage basin around the lake with available data exceeds the state pollution limits.
That’s 32 basins, shown in the map above, which TCPalm created using geographic boundaries the South Florida Water Management District provided in lieu of exact boundaries that match the water quality data in the organization’s annual report.
The worst polluter is the East Beach Drainage District southeast of Lake O, near Pahokee, according to the SFWMD data showing five-year pollution averages from 2016 to 2021, measured in “water years” that run from May 1 through April 30.
The East Beach Drainage District isn’t shown on the map because it’s not in the state’s mapping file. Other missing areas include the East Shore Drainage District, L-61E Basin and the upper and lower Kissimmee subwatersheds.
There are 41 basins around the lake, but for nine of them, no data exists for water years 2020 and 2021.
Lindsey Leake is TCPalm’s health reporter. She contributed significant data analysis and digital producing to this report. Contact her at email@example.com, 772-529-5378, @NewsyLindsey on Twitter or @LindseyMLeake on Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Map: These 32 basins around Lake O exceed Florida’s pollution limits