MIAMI -- Federal engineers are draining storm-swollen Lake Okeechobee.
Water levels in the South Florida lake top 15 feet and are still rising from rains dumped by Tropical Storm Isaac. Draining the lake will ease pressure on its aging dike.
It also means sending polluted waters down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers. Draining the lake in the past has triggered fish-killing algae blooms in both rivers.
Lt. Col. Thomas Greco of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells The Miami Herald that, starting Wednesday, engineers will release small amounts of water to minimize environmental impacts.
According to the Corps plan, the lake's water levels are supposed to stay between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet.
Lake Okeechobee functions as a flood control basin, a regional water reservoir and a fishing destination.