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Lake treatment groups under inquiry

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether two lake management companies misused a herbicide in Florida freshwater lakes.

Paper work at about a half-dozen offices operated by The Lake Doctors of Winter Springs and Environmental Waterway Management of Fort Lauderdale was seized by criminal investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week.

The companies are hired by homeowners associations, apartment complexes and other businesses to kill weeds in lakes, drainage ponds and other waterways.

Last week's federal sweep was one of the largest environmental raids in the state because it involved two companies at several locations, said Lt. Don McMillen, who oversees environmental investigation for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission in Central Florida.

His employees assisted the EPA in the raid against the two companies Feb. 12, McMillen said.

Federal officials would not elaborate, but other sources told the Orlando Sentinel that the investigation centered on the possible misuse of a herbicide called diuron.

That chemical is authorized for killing weeds on land but not in lakes, investigators said.