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St. Petersburg’s Round Lake is nearly dry; Here’s why

ST. PETERSBURG — Historic Round Lake has been drying up since November because of the dry winter — and a broken pump that wasn’t supposed to be pumping into the lake in the first place.

The pump was installed at the lake in the Historic Uptown neighborhood west of Fourth Street N near downtown in the 1970s, but the Southwest Florida Water Management District now prohibits pumping water into lakes. The city didn’t realize that until workers discovered the pump had broken on Nov. 30.

The city spent $9,900 to have the pump fixed Thursday, though it is only being used for irrigation around the lake. City spokesperson Janelle Irwin Taylor said the city is considering applying for a permit to refill the lake, but said they are not sure if they will be successful.

City officials say Round Lake is not considered “environmentally significant” because it does not foster a larger ecosystem, like Lake Maggiore. While Round Lake has been a popular gathering spot for generations of St. Petersburg residents, it is believed to be man-made.

“We were operating against regulation,” Irwin Taylor said. “That pump should not have been used for that purpose.”

The majority of Round Lake’s water comes from rainfall that flows into the lake through the city drainage system. Round Lake is connected to Mirror Lake. It sits at a higher elevation, so it flows to Mirror Lake when its water levels are higher. Round Lake is also depleted before Mirror Lake would be depleted.