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Water releases to resume from Lake O

Water releases to resume from Lake O. (WPEC)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Thursday its intent to resume water releases from Lake Okeechobee.

USACE says this decision is based on its efforts to manage flood risk in the region.

The releases are scheduled to resume on Friday. The target flow will be 3,000 cubic feet per second from the Caloosahatchee Estuary and 1,800 cubic feet per second from the St. Luice Estuary near Stuart.

"Over the upcoming 14-day period, we will operate with discharges slightly lower than the limits in LORS (Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule)," said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District commander.

"We will implement pulse releases with variable flows that simulate rainfall events in an effort to reduce some of the environmental impacts."

This announcement comes after the decision to stop the releases on Monday to fully asses the system conditions.

As of Thursday, the lake is 14.48 feet. This is up 1.65 feet from its 2018 low, which occurred on May 13.

Lake Okeechobee water releases have caused toxic algae problems for parts of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

Rep. Brian Mast called for a Federal State of Emergency after water tested positive for toxins 15 times more toxic than considered safe for human contact.

When asked about water releases resuming on Friday, Mast said:

With water 15 times more toxic than is safe for human contact, the Army Corps’ decision to resume poisoning operations is not safe or equitable. Our community did not create this problem and we should not be forced to have the health of each of our citizens put at risk as a result of it. The Army Corps has emergency authority given to them when there are pollution emergencies. They should use that authority now to stop the poisoning of our community, protect the hundreds of thousands of people on the Treasure Coast and send the water south.

For more information on water levels and releases, click here.

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