South Florida Water Management District
The SFWMD Okeechobee Field Station were installing a series of temporary pumps to capture water from the S-135 Basin that would otherwise go into Lake Okeechobee. The water will instead be moved into Phase 2 of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area for shallow storage.
The 2,700-acre Lakeside Ranch STA in western Martin County is a key component of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program that will improve the quality of water flowing into the lake.
"Lake Okeechobee is the heart of the Everglades," said SFWMD Governing Board member Brandon Tucker. "The Lakeside Ranch STA will reduce the amount of phosphorus in water that flows into the lake to benefit the entire region. This is, yet, another critical restoration project that is being completed under the leadership of this District and Gov. Rick Scott.
SFWMD previously constructed 2,700 acres of wetlands in two phases, capable of treating stormwater runoff from the Taylor Creek and Nubbin Slough basins flowing into Lake Okeechobee. The treatment area uses wetland plants to remove phosphorus from stormwater runoff naturally.
The S-191A Pump Station is the last component of the Lakeside Ranch project. Taylor Creek and Nubbin Slough basins have the highest phosphorus levels of any incoming watershed into the lake, with average total levels of more than 400 parts per billion (ppb). Phosphorus levels leaving Lakeside Ranch after treatment have been measured as low as 20 ppb. The STA can remove nearly 21 tons of phosphorus each year from the waters feeding the lake.