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Crews are removing blue-green algae from around the Franklin Lock in Lee County by using new technology.
The goal is to destroy blooms before they get worse in the Caloosahatchee River – and the work can’t come soon enough for some.
Can we really get rid of blue-green algae in just a few hours?
“We can do an immediate response with almost immediate results,” said Waleed Nasser, Ph.D., U.S. director of Operations and Global Technical Support at BlueGreen Water Technologies.
“When they apply product, you can see the product moving with the currents, slowly acting on it, and eliminating, and you can see the results within a few days.”
The gunk we’ve clog our canals with can be sprinkled away? Hopefully.
“That’s why we’re choosing this product right here, to see how it works,” said Drew Bartlett, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District.
SFWMD tested out the product on Thursday. BlueGreen Water Technologies brought their algaecide, a white powder, to the Franklin Lock all the way from Israel.
“It seems like it’s unique because it is floating and interacting with the algae and we’ve seen other products that don’t do that,” Bartlett said.
“This is an algaecide technology using safe hydrogen peroxide in the water, which obviously you want it to be safe for the water.”
That means the product will get rid of the algae and not harm any sea life. Once crews sprinkle it on the water, the algae start to disappear, taking the smell and white powder – with it.
“When we find products that work, we’re going to basically set that up so where if we have an algae condition associated with lake discharges, we can respond right away,” Bartlett said.
The district will take measurements. If this proves effective, it could be a tool to tackle algae all summer long – if they need it.
“The summer of 2018 was a catastrophe for Lee County, that is something we want to avoid. That’s why we’re here right now, trying to deal with algae right now,” Bartlett said.
As for the possibility of harmful effects of the algaecide, BlueGreen said unless it’s used by a non-professional and recklessly, there are none. The Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection have approved its use in Florida.