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Dr. Lapointe: Septic tank issue needs to be cleaned up

Posted: 7:08 PM, Jul 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-24 23:29:54Z

A local scientist is standing by his research that septic tanks are the main issue when it comes to algae blooms in our waterways.

Today Dr. Brian Lapointe spoke to St. Lucie County leaders and made recommendations to track and combat those algae blooms.

"Think the message is clear. We have fouled our nest and we got to do a better job in cleaning this up," said Lapointe.

He says more testing needs to be done to pinpoint fecal pollution and continue with those septic to sewer conversions.

Much of the focus today was on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, however, Dr. Lapointe made it clear again nitrogen from Septic tanks was the major cause of the 2016 algae crisis.

He says that's an issue this year as well on both coasts.

"Some of the algae from the lake as it came into the South Fork, it began to see higher nutrients," said Lapointe.

Critics were quick to refute his claims.

Edie Widder at the Ocean Research and Conservation Association pointed to research done by Gary Goforth, an environmental engineer.

"About half of the nitrogen load coming into the estuary is coming from Lake Okeechobee and half of it is coming from the watershed, of that only 4 percent is coming from septic," said Widder.