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Where Lee County is at Now With Blue-Green Algae Cleanup

2:06 PM, Sep 18, 2018

Contributors

Chloe Nordquist

“I wish it was going a lot faster, I really do,” Lee County Commissioner District 4 Brian Hamman said.

Blue-green algae cleanup is still a top priority for Lee County.

Where Lee County is at Now With Blue-Green Algae Cleanup

“We go up in the air once a week to look at it,” Dave Harner said, an assistant Lee County manager. “Looks better in our river, but unfortunately in the canals in North Fort Myers and Cape Coral.”

That location is still a soupy mess and the county said it’ll keep asking for money if it’s needed.

“That’s going to be the pattern, we are going to be using these grant dollars as much as we can to provide relief to the residents who are suffering from this blue green algae,” Brian Hamman said.

Over the last couple months, blue-green algae has devastated SWFL. The toxic algae bloom have destroyed freshwater and marine ecosystems. On Florida beaches, hundreds of dead sea animals have shown-up on shore in a frequent basis. The SWFL tourist economy has plummeted, causing loses in the millions to local businesses.

The Florida government has allocated millions of tax payers money as it searches for a solution to environmental crisis and to cleanup the mess that has been caused. Despite the exorbitant sums distributed to local governments, Lee County still hasn't found a solution and continues in its debates on how to cleanup the blue-green algae.

So far, the county has spent more than $1 million in state grant funds.

“It was used as we had always planned to use it,” Hamman said.

An experimental project fell through, freeing up an additional $750,000.

“Because that money was dedicated for that specific project, we asked permission from DEP and received authorization to use it to continue our efforts with the current company we have,” Harner said, referring to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

That $750,000 will be split between two cleanup companies. Close to two million has been spent so far.

Next week, an experiment with nano bubble technology will begin. “This technology tests whether they can infuse the water with enough ozone and oxygen to then kill off algae,” Hamman said.

The testing will start September 24 and last for five days. The location will be decided on the day of the testing.

“So we know where it’s trapped, where it will be most beneficial," Hamman said. "We want the provide the best test possible."

According to Hamman, if the technology works, the county will most likely buy it.

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