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Stuart business owners feeling the effects of Lake Okeechobee water releases

Diver Russell Singson, the owner of Barracuda Dive Service in Stuart, is facing a decline in business due to the discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The water has become so murky that visibility has decreased significantly, making it difficult for his team to clean boats efficiently. This has resulted in smaller paychecks as they are unable to service as many boats in a day.

Singson shared that sometimes they have had to completely take off work because the water is so murky that they can’t see anything underwater. About 50 boats are currently waiting for cleaning services, putting a strain on the business. In response to the unclear water, Singson and his team are taking extra precautions with sanitation after diving to avoid infections.

At At the Helm Training, located down the St. Lucie River, operations manager Nancy Husk expressed similar concerns about the impact of the discharges on their bookings for trainings. Customers are apprehensive about being in the water due to concerns about water cleanliness, especially after recalling the severe algae bloom in 2018. Husk hopes that if the discharges continue, Army Corps of Engineers will adjust their approach to releasing water which may help alleviate some of its impact on local businesses like hers

By Samantha Jones

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