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Water Levels Lowering In Lake Okeechobee

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) — A bit of good news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The water levels are falling in Lake Okeechobee.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that the lower water levels mean they can start reducing the amount of water being released from the lake to relieve pressure on its aging earthen dike.

Critics say high levels of polluted freshwater released from the lake this summer has exacerbated environmental problems in the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie estuary. Above-average rainfall prompted the corps to increase the discharges.

Parts of the dike around the lake date to the 1930s. High lake water levels significantly increase the risk of leaks or a breach in the dike.

Water levels in the lake were at 15.76 feet Monday. The corps aims to keep that level between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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