Sen. Nelson announces fast track for repairs to Herbert Hoover Dike

Jul 5, 2018 \\ Kristen Chapman, CBS 12

Senator Bill Nelson made a major announcement Thursday in Belle Glade about repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike: he’s fast-tracking the project.

Now, the Army Corps of Engineers approved to complete the project by 2022, three years earlier than expected.

So who’s paying for the project?

According to Senator Nelson, $1 billion have already been spent with an additional $720 million to go. Nelson said Thursday that money will officially come from the Hurricane Disaster Assistance fund, a pot of money holding $80 billion dollars.

“It was a big pot of money," explained Sen. Nelson, “and we needed about three-quarters of a billion to complete this.”

The repairs to the dike mean added safety for the communities living alongside Lake Okeechobee and less discharge into the water that reaches the Treasure Coast. That discharge causes toxic algae blooms.

Senator Nelson also shared the details of the water bill he is introducing to the Senate next week. It involves cleaning the water before dumping it into the St. Lucie River and distributing the water from Lake Okeechobee differently.

“It’s important to get the projects north of the St. Lucie River going for all the runoff and drainage in that area, clean the water before you dump it into the St. Lucie,” said Nelson. “It’s also important to send most of the water out here in the lake, start sending it south instead of the east in the St Lucie and to the west in the Caloosahatchee.”

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