OLGA, FL - Swimming at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam remains restricted as of Friday night due to the cyanobacteria in the water.
The blue green color and foul smell of the cyanobacteria is a product of nitrogen and phosphorus released into the Caloosahatchee. Now, with the Army Corps of Engineers ramping up releases from Lake Okeechobee due to the recent rain, experts are warning we could see additional water quality problems in the future.
Candidate for Lee County Commissioner Dick Anderson tells Four In Your Corner he is running to bring change to the water quality crisis.
“Blue green algae is toxic when it blooms and as little as a shot glass worth can be toxic to humans," Anderson said.
The decision to increase the water flows comes ahead of rainy season and hurricane season, where additional water could compromise the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee.
Anderson argues the water being released now is too much and it’s hurting the economy.
"There are already people from last season with the brown water that are saying I'm not coming back. That's not something that's going to go away. It's going to get worse," Anderson said.
Anderson says if elected, he intends to push for the use of Amendment One money to send the water south, not east in the St. Lucie or west into the Caloosahatchee. “We can treat that water. We can filter that water, and we can convey it to the Everglades. South Florida is an incredibly productive ecosystem. All we have to do is manage it."
Right now it’s unclear when the swimming area at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam will be reopened. The park area, however, is still open to the public.