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Florida Department of Environmental Protection visits Stuart to talk water quality

Posted: 7:19 PM, Apr 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-27 10:59:25Z
FDEP talks Treasure Coast water quality

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection sent a representative to the Treasure Coast Thursday with a message: they want to show they're part of finding the solution to the problems with water that remains polluted from the 2016 algae crisis.

"We want DEP to be seen," said Tom Frick, director of Environmental Assessment & Restoration for DEP.

Mary Radabaugh, manager of Central Marine, said the water still isn't what it once was.

“We’re seeing some of the clearing, some of the salinity coming back, but we’re not there," she said.

Central Marine was considered ground zero for the algae crisis.

“It was horrible," Radabaugh said. "It was an eight-inch thick algae mat. It smelled worse than death."

Plants and wildlife still aren't as prolific as they previously were, she said.

"We don’t have any seagrasses," she said. "We don’t have some of the important habitat that we need.”

That's why Radabaugh wants to see state leaders listening to the public's concerns.

“I would like to see the higher ups come in and pay attention," she said.

Tom Frick did that Thursday at a Rivers Coalition meeting. 

"Get in front of the groups to hear them and to develop that relationship," Frick said.

Radabaugh mainly wants to see discharges from Lake Okeechobee end.

“The discharges are the most important because they’re harming our food chain," she said.

Frick said DEP is working from several fronts to solve the problem.

"Everybody is looking for that one silver bullet. We solve this one thing and everything will be fine," he said. "It’s coming from many sources. It’s coming from wastewater, that’s individual wastewater areas, septic tanks."

He said DEP is actively working on storm water treatment, septic tanks, Everglades restoration, the reservoir and the Herbert Hoover Dike and other projects to help with water quality.