Mysterious pollution in Caloosahatchee in Hendry County

Published: February 23, 2022 5:34 PM EST

Mysterious pollution flowing into the Caloosahatchee is gone but there are questions about where the dirty water is coming from because this isn’t the first time.

It’s a mystery that’s got environmental investigating.

The chocolatey brown water photographed by a volunteer has Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani worried.

The picture shows the dirty stuff flowing into the Caloosahatchee River from the Townsend Canal in Hendry County.

“We don’t know what else was in that dark water,” Cassani said. “It could all be organic source. It could be some other serious pollutants in that brown water, depending on how it originated.”

The mission is to find the source of the turbid water before there’s any harm to sea life.

“Turbidity, by itself, doesn’t mean anything toxic, poisonous, problems to wildlife. But too much of that soil at the wrong times absolutely can be harmful to fish, it can block out light that that vegetation needs to grow,” said Don Duke, a professor at the Water School at FGCU.

Duke said if turbid water continued for days or weeks at a time, it could really to damage to the river.

The water is clear now but the turbid water has come and gone the last several weeks.

“If it happens again, we’ll respond a little more quickly, I think, this time and try to get on the ground and trace it, see where it’s actually coming from,” Cassani said.