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These Are Some of the Most Polluted Lakes in America – You Might Want to Think Twice Before Jumping In!

The pollution of lakes across America is a pressing issue that is caused by a range of factors, including industrial waste, sewage discharge, and agricultural runoff. The following is a list of 15 of the most contaminated lakes in America, taking into consideration factors such as toxicity levels, pH levels, and the presence of pollutants such as heavy metals and chemicals.

1. Lake Okeechobee, Florida

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Local agricultural operations and sewage runoff have polluted this large freshwater lake in South Florida with nitrogen, phosphorus, and other harmful chemicals. These toxins have degraded water quality and hurt the ecosystem, including fish and birds that depend on the lake. Sugarcane farming by the US Sugar Corporation pollutes Lake Okeechobee.

2. Onondaga Lake, New York

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Industrial pollution from mercury, lead, and PCBs has contaminated this central New York lake. Sewage and agricultural runoff have polluted the lake at this federal Superfund site. Honeywell International and Allied Signal are major polluters of Onondaga Lake.

3. Lake Erie, Ohio

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Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes in the northeast US, has been polluted by industrial waste, sewage discharge, and agricultural runoff. This has degraded water quality and damaged the lake’s ecosystem, including fish and wildlife. Lake Erie pollution is caused by FirstEnergy and ArcelorMittal.

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4. Lake Calumet, Illinois

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Found in southeast Chicago, this lake has been contaminated by pollutants from nearby industrial activities and sewage treatment plants, including heavy metals and chemicals. Companies such as US Steel and BP Refinery are some of the major contributors to the pollution in Lake Calumet.

5. Lake Apopka, Florida

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A vast body of water situated in the heart of Florida has suffered from contamination due to various sources, such as agricultural activities and sewage treatment facilities. The contaminants, including nitrogen and phosphorus, have had a detrimental effect on the lake’s water quality.

6. Lake Mohave, Nevada

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Industrial waste and sewage discharge have contaminated this large lake in the southwest US with heavy metals and chemicals. Lake Mohave pollution is caused by Mohave Generating Station and Eldorado Canyon Mine.

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7. Lake Washington, Washington

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This Seattle lake is polluted by industrial waste and sewage. Water quality and the lake’s fish and wildlife have suffered due to the pollutants. Boeing and King County Wastewater Treatment Division are major polluters of Lake Washington.

8. Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana

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This large lake in southeastern Louisiana has become polluted as a result of industrial waste and sewage discharge, as well as agricultural and stormwater runoff containing hazardous chemicals. Shell Oil Company and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality are two of the most significant polluters in Lake Pontchartrain.

9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan

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This small lake in southeastern Michigan, which is connected to both Lake Huron and Lake Erie, has become contaminated due to industrial waste and sewage discharge, which includes heavy metals and chemicals. DTE Energy and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are two of the major polluters in Lake St. Clair.

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10. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

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The contamination of Lake Coeur d’Alene, situated in northern Idaho, is attributed to the discharge of industrial waste and sewage, which encompasses toxic substances. The water quality has diminished as a result of these pollutants, causing adverse effects on the lake’s ecosystem and its fish and wildlife population.

11. Lake Mead, Nevada

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The companies responsible for the pollution in Lake Mead are significant contributors to this problem. The Hoover Dam, for example, is a major source of industrial waste, while the Southern Nevada Water Authority is responsible for sewage discharge. These organizations, along with other industrial entities, must take immediate steps to address the problem of pollution in Lake Mead.

12. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

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Lake Tahoe, a magnificent body of water nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is facing the severe problem of contamination.  This issue has arisen due to the discharge of industrial waste and sewage into the lake, which contains harmful chemicals. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the City of South Lake Tahoe are just a few examples of organizations that must take immediate steps to address the problem of pollution in Lake Tahoe.

13. Lake Mendota, Wisconsin

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Lake Mendota in southern Wisconsin is suffering from pollution due to the release of heavy metals and chemicals from industrial activities and sewage treatment plants. The decline in water quality resulting from these pollutants is affecting both the lake itself and the surrounding ecosystem, including its flora and fauna.

14. Lake Champlain, Vermont

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The pollution of Lake Champlain in northern Vermont is caused by the release of harmful chemicals from industrial activities and sewage treatment plants. This has resulted in a drop in water quality and damage to the surrounding ecosystem. Companies like the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the City of Burlington are major polluters and must act quickly to address the issue.

15. Lake Monona, Wisconsin

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Pollution threatens Lake Monona in southern Wisconsin. Lake Monona pollution must be addressed immediately by organizations. Protecting this precious resource and preserving the lake’s water quality requires immediate action.

Final Thoughts

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The pollution of lakes in America is a critical environmental issue that affects the health of local ecosystems and the wildlife that inhabit these bodies of water. It is essential that steps are taken to address the sources of pollution and to protect these important ecosystems for future generations. Companies and government agencies must take responsibility for their impact on the environment and take action to reduce pollution and protect these valuable resources.



Jessica is a published author and copywriter specializing in personal and investment finance. Her expertise is in financial product reviews and stock market education.