Lake Osceola Pollution Undergoes Research

    UM's polluted Lake be cleaned. Sue Ann Miller // Hurricane Photo
    UM's polluted Lake be cleaned. Sue Ann Miller // Hurricane Photo


    November 7, 1972

    As many as 1,000 student volunteers are needed to assist in a massive UM research study to discover the problems concerning Lake Osceola’s pollution.

    Under the direction of Dr. Tom Waite of the UM School of Engineering, the study will try to engage personnel from all branches of the university community and bring these varied interest groups together in a combined effort to clean up the lake.

    UM has provided a $30,000 institutional grant to fund the study. The data from this research study should clear up all speculation regarding the lake.

    In the past, many small understaffed research studies have been conducted. There still remains much speculation as to how badly the lake is polluted and there are many theories of the cause. Some of these include sewage discharge into the waterway leading to the lake, runoff of fertilizers from lawns and the mixing of fresh and salt water in the lake.

    “We could actively use every student on this campus,” Waite said. “There will be lots of areas to study chemistry, biology, sociology, economies, even air photography. Or if a student has a particular area of interest other than these we will welcome their ideas and try to incorporate them into our study.”

    Waite stressed the point that the study is aimed at learning environmental problems.

    “No science background is required,” he said. “In fact, we would like to make a special attempt to enlist those who are non-science majors.”

    “Learn and Work” is the idea behind the study. Some students may be involved in taking samples from the lake and analyzing slides under microscopes, while others will be conducting door-to-door interviews of Coral Gables residents living along the waterway.

    A special attempt will be made to canvas “the lake people” from Liberty Square who have been fishing at the lake for more than 15 years.

    “There will be jobs where you don’t have to come in contact with the water,” said Ed Frankel of the Environment Club.

    If student response is strong, periodic seminars will be held in the spring according to Waite.

    “We hope that students will eventually be able to receive credit for their work,” he said.

    Waite says when the research is completed they will start on the second part of the project to put the findings into effect.

    For those students interested in participating in the study, the first organizational meeting will be held next Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. in room S226 of the Student Union. If you have any questions call the environment office at X-3919.

    Nancy Lucas wrote for The Miami Hurricane in 1972.