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Going green

  1. Tampa not alone in eyeing highly treated waste water as possible drinking water source

    Water

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area has a long history of local governments jockeying to control sources of water, but not water into which people have pooped.

    That could change.

    Chlorinated water flows over a weir at the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. Tampa officials are talking about using reclaimed water - essentially, highly treated waste water that's nearly pure enough to drink - to augment the citty's existing water supply. Ttreated waste water that comes out of the Curren plant would be pumped int the aquifer 900 feet below-ground, then withdrawn from 300 feet down, treated further and added to the city's drinking water supply. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
  2. State: Dade City's Wild Things diverted zoo donations for personal use

    Wildlife

    DADE CITY — The owners of Dade City's Wild Things have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit zoo into their personal business account, paying for their son's wedding and other private expenses with donations raised in the name of saving animals, according to a lawsuit filed by Florida …

    [STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON, Times]
Dade City's Wild Things Director Kathy Stearns is shown giving a demonstration with a tiger cub to campers in 2011. A lawsuit filed by the Florida Department of Agriculture Consumer Services Oct. 2 alleges Kathy and Kenneth Stearns funneled at least $212,000 from the nonprofit zoo to its private, for-profit turf business and paid for their son's wedding and other personal expenses.
  3. Lake O hits highest level since 2005, raising concerns its dike could fail

    Water

    Rainfall from Hurricane Irma has pushed the water level in Lake Okeechobee to its highest point since 2005. Now, with more wet weather in the forecast, nearby residents fear a collapse of the 80-year-old dike around the lake.

    Lake Okeechobee is seen from its northern shoreline in July 2016. As of Tuesday, the lake had hit 16.56 feet, the highest level since 2005. Officials fear if it gets much higher it will increase seepage through the lake's dike, causing it to fail. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. SCUBAnauts volunteers assist with artificial reef project off Hernando coast

    Environment

    HERNANDO BEACH

    Hernando County's multi-part plan to boost local waterways through artificial reef projects kicked off last month when more than 600 tons of concrete material were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico atop the existing Bendickson Reef.

    Noah Heskin, 16, center (wearing hat) helps to fill a mold with concrete as teenagers with SCUBAnauts International work to create concrete reef balls at the county’s Waterway Management facility in Hernando Beach on Sunday.
  5. Massive crocodile seen roaming the streets, and there was only 1 thing a cop could do

    Wildlife

    Name one thing you really don't want to see around 4 a.m. walking around your neighborhood.

    Watch out for that croc.

    A crocodile was seen roaming a street in Miami-Dade.
  6. Pinellas County embarks on $19-million project to pull muck out of Lake Seminole

    Environment

    SEMINOLE — Environmental experts, always concerned about the water quality of Lake Seminole, are assessing how much Hurricane Irma may have stirred up the nearly 1 million cubic yards of muck that lay on the bottom.

    Despite the expenditure of more than $30 million over nearly two decades, improved water quality in Lake Seminole remains elusive. The muck that lines the bottom of the 684-acre freshwater lake keeps accumulating while the cost to remove it keeps rising. Having exhausted less drastic methods for restoring the lake, the county is about to embark on a six-year dredging project expected to cost $18.6 million. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times

  7. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday

    Wildlife

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  8. Study: Dispersant used to clean 2010 BP oil spill harmed humans

    Water

    A first-of-its-kind scientific study has determined that the dispersant BP sprayed at the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 harmed human health.

    This image from a 2010 video provided by BP shows dispersant, white plume at center, being applied to an oil leak at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. A first-of-its-kind scientific study has determined that the dispersant BP used to clean-up the oil spill harmed human health. (AP Photo/BP PLC)
  9. How visiting a scenic Cuban resort can help save green sea turtles

    Wildlife

    The Florida Aquarium has been collaborating with Cuba's National Aquarium since 2015 to help save coral dying throughout Caribbean waters.

    The beaches of Cuba's Cayo Largo are home to a large population of green sea turtle nests. The Florida Aquarium will lead eco-tours of Cayo Largo next year that will help protect the turtles and fund research.  [Avalon Outdoor]
  10. Irma roughs up endangered snail kites, birds that help us gauge the Everglades' health

    Wildlife

    Hurricane Irma was as rough on some wildlife as it was on the humans. Audubon of Florida reported Thursday that the storm destroyed all 44 nests around Lake Okeechobee built by the endangered Everglades snail kite, a bird considered crucial to the River of Grass ecosystem.

    Hurricane Irma destroyed 44 snail kite nests, capping off a poor mating season for the endangered species, which is seen as an important barometer of the health of the Florida Everglades. Their off-center beaks allow them to probe inside the spiral shells of the native apple snails. But the snails' population has dropped as the Everglades has changed. [MAC STONE | Audubon of Florida]