OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the S-191A Pump Station, the final component of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) Project on Sept, 10, 2021.
The Lakeside Ranch STA and S-191A Pump Station are key components of the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. Additionally, the project is identified in the Lake Okeechobee Basin Management Plan to improve water quality for Lake Okeechobee.
“This project will improve water quality flowing into Lake Okeechobee, the liquid heart of America’s Everglades,” said Ben Butler, SFWMD Governing Board Member. “Our residents and businesses rely on Lake Okeechobee for their livelihood, and this ribbon-cutting signifies another step forward for Florida’s natural resources.”
“We are truly dedicated to working with our partners, stakeholders and the public to expedite beneficial projects across South Florida,” said Drew Bartlett, SFWMD Executive Director. “I’m proud of the accomplishments of the hard-working staff at the District who routinely complete restoration projects that support our mission and improve our natural systems.”
“Protecting our natural resources and ecosystems continues to be a priority for Okeechobee County,” said Terry Burroughs, Chair, Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners. “It is critical that we continue to work with local and state partners to improve the health of Lake Okeechobee, which is the lifeblood of so many Okeechobee County residents.”
The Lakeside Ranch STA is located in Martin County, and the S-191A Pump Station that supports the STA is located in Okeechobee County. The project was completed in three phases:
Over 1,700 acres of natural wetlands were created in the first two phases, capable of treating stormwater runoff from the S-191 Basin. The new pump station houses four pumps (150 cubic feet per second capacity per pump) for recirculation and flood control. This project removes approximately 16 tons of phosphorus each year that would otherwise end up in Lake Okeechobee.
Although Nubbin Slough has one of the highest phosphorus levels in the watershed, water leaving the STA is just 40 ppb phosphorus.
SFWMD continues to advance important Everglades restoration projects that will send more water south, reduce harmful discharges, and improve water quality in South Florida.