News Stories

Red Tide Hits Sarasota, Local Scientists Find Small Scale Solution

Red tide made its way to Sarasota in early August.

“You just get the whiff of it sometimes and you’re just like ‘Ughh’ so bad,” Nick Lovisa said. “We were lucky it didn’t come around here earlier because it probably would have killed our summer camp.”

Lovisa is a youth sailing coach here. He said any type of help to get it out of here would be great.

“I mean we need anything at this point really,” he said.

Doctors at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota are trying to do just that. They have a machine called an ozone conductor. It’s being tested in a Boca Grande canal where red tide has been even more of a pain.

The machine works by breaking down 300,000 gallons of toxic water a minute and injecting it with ozone.

Ozone kills the red tide toxins and pumps out purified water into the ocean. Dr. Richard Pierce is the man behind the mission.

“The important thing is we don’t put ozone into the natural system,” Dr. Richard Pierce, a Senior Scientist at Mote, said. “We do all the ozone processing within this enclosed chamber and the purified water is what goes out into the canal.”

The Boca Grande community banded together to help fund this experiment.

Dr. Pierce told us it’s not an idea that’s going to end red tide. “This is a tool…in a toolbox of many tools. The focus of this is on restricted flow smaller areas like a residential canal,” he said. “We’re looking at someway to restore that back to the natural conditions.”

But it is one step in the right direction to get waterways back to what you’re used to.

RELATED: Charlotte County Calls For Local State of Emergency Over Red Tide

Additional reporting by Terrace Myles and Gabriela Milian