Skip to main content

The 'Cleaner Than Rain ' Hoax



Trey Wheeler of Florida Sportsman spotted this year's first large bloom of blue-green algae and Mike Conner recorded the evidence, on the lakeside of the Port Mayaca locks, headed for the St. Lucie Canal and estuary.

Over and over, we swallow the same old line. “Our Everglades water is cleaner than rain water.”

That's the claim not only from the sugar cane industry but from the government water managers who are Big Sugar's best buddies.

The cleaner-than-rain refrain sounds good. People tend not to question it.

After all, the chemistry of pollution is very tough science.

So, I ran the idea past four different experts who are not on sugar's pad. They all said the same thing. The claim is pure nonsense.

We're referring to the water coming and going in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

That's the 700,000-acre dirty behemoth just south of Lake Okeechobee.

Firstly, good old rain water contains some 30 parts per billion of phosphorus when it visits sugar land. Plants, mostly sugar cane, use that P greedily. And growers happily add trainloads more.

The end result is that water pumped south from the EAA into storm water treatment areas has been measured for many years at 140 ppb. Compare that to rainwater's 30 ppb.

“Bottom line is that sugar's runoff is four and five times dirtier than rain water,” said one of the experts, Dr. Paul Gray, an Audubon biologist highly regarded by virtually everyone.

It's the same situation with nitrogen, the twin culprit with phosphorus, causing eutrophication of the waters.

All of which begs the question as to why politicians and staff professionals don't sound the alarm better about toxic pollution. One reason is as simple as losing your

job.

A newly retired Martin County health department official pulled no punches in an Internet posting the other day. He said he had felt intimidated for years by subtle warnings that he must downplay pollution problems.

To his credit, the official, Bob Washam, did indeed show courage in speaking up quietly against many abuses.

And he never tried to sell the fiction that EAA water is cleaner than rain water.

Karl Wickstrom




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Extend Your Range in the Salt Marsh

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Florida's Capital Fishing

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 FULLY RIGGED Fishing Machine

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Mounting Forward-Facing Sonar on A Kayak: Mounts, Scanning Applications and More!

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

On The Water with Old Town: Bass Fishing at PRIVATE GEORGIA LAKE

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

DECKED-OUT Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ 132 Complete WALK-THROUGH

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Dreambuild: Old Town ePDL Gets Rigged to the Hilt

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Kaku Zulu

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Kayak Hulls

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Kayaks and Saltwater Flats

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Videos

Kayak Fishing Fun 2023 Product Showcase

George Labonte meets with Jeff Toole and his sons aboard their custom-built 1987 Alumacraft 16' Jon Boat that they custo...
Store

Refurbished 1987 Alumacraft Jon Boat | One Man's Dreamboat

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now