“We have a solution that is effective and we were happy to have been able to demonstrate it to local authorities. Our treatment method is scalable to treat an entire canal system.”
Residents who live along the Little Lake Michigan Canal in North Ft. Myers can once again enjoy the outdoors–and breathe easy.
Just a few weeks ago, canal front homeowners were forced indoors when an outbreak of toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) overwhelmed the waterway mere steps from their homes. The toxic algae produced a stench so strong that relaxing on the patio or firing up the grill was simply out of the question.
But the toxic bloom that overtook the Little Lake Michigan canal is not an isolated incident. Southwest Florida has a recurring problem of harmful algal blooms in its water bodies. September is a peak month for toxic algae, which flourish in warmer temperatures when high levels of pollutants and nutrients are present in the water. And the situation is worsening with climate change, as water temperatures increase and extreme heat events become more common.
When the BlueGreen team received the call for help from Lee County, they loaded up bags of LakeGuard® Oxy and headed for the canal. It took less than an hour to deploy the treatment.
Standing on the edge of the canal surrounded by TV news cameras, BlueGreen Chief Marketing Officer Lucia Ross gestured back at the smelly cauldron of green behind her and explained how the treatment works. “It triggers a biological process called programmed cell death. It will kill that bacteria, take it to the bottom and hold it in the sediment and keep it there.”
Unlike other algaecide treatments, BlueGreen’s products actually float on the surface of the water, traveling with the wind and current to chase down the harmful algae. The biodegradable coating that enables the product to float was developed after years of research and testing.
“The product kills only the toxic bacteria and leaves the aquatic ecosystem unharmed,” said Ross.
Almost instantaneously, the algae began to clear up. Canal residents, county officials, and reporters alike were all stunned by the quick turnaround.
“BlueGreen’s magic bacteria powder ate the blue-green algae. The blue-green algae turned white like the powder,” wrote NPR reporter Tom Bayles. “Then the white, and the powder, just – poof - disappeared.”
Over the past year, BlueGreen has had multiple other successes across Southwest Florida, from the Caloosahatchee River to canals feeding Lake Okeechobee. The BlueGreen team hopes to continue working with Lee County to treat and prevent further outbreaks.
“We have a solution that is effective and we were happy to have been able to demonstrate it to local authorities. Our treatment method is scalable to treat an entire canal system.” said Eyal Harel, CEO, BlueGreen Water Technologies.
We hope that Lee County continues to use LakeGuard® Oxy, so the residents can continue to enjoy a cyanobacteria-free canal!