Polluted Lake Okeechobee in Florida getting dirtier

Water managers, environmental agencies and conservation groups have been talking about cleaning up Lake Okeechobee for decades. But the water quality has only gotten worse. Much worse.

Two environmental groups on Wednesday released an e-mail from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that shows a troubling buildup of the key nutrient phosphorus — whose presence in the lake has almost quadrupled since the 1970s and almost doubled since the 1990s.

With current concentrations approaching 200 parts per billion — considered 20 times too polluted for the Everglades -- the dirty lake looms as major and expensive problem for an Everglades restoration effort who cost is already expected to top $20 billion.

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