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Algae cleanup plans move forward

Posted: 7:13 PM, Aug 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-01 23:13:28Z

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Lee County has revealed new details about plans to remove algae from canals and marinas.

The plans are currently in development. Lee County Commissioners had an emergency meeting last week, where they approved $150,00 dollars from the county to hire a vendor to start a physical cleanup. A spokesperson for the county said the following:

"The vendor is creating a work plan for the algae removal, processing and disposal activities that will be reviewed by the County and approved by FDEP.

This work plan will include a site-specific health and safety plan to address any physical hazards that may be encountered. The work plan will also describe the equipment to be used and the procedures to be implemented during the algae recovery operations and the transfer, temporary storage, processing and final disposal of the recovered algae.

Additionally, the work plan will outline the sampling required prior to disposal and will present steps for review of the laboratory data and obtaining approval for disposal. Since access to the canals is required at various locations, it will be necessary for the vendor to secure access agreements from property owners as work progresses.

Lee County is expediting the algae cleanup pilot project by utilizing an existing State contract with standard industry technology . The County is interested in alternative technologies and has alerted potential vendors to a state solicitation of product and service demonstrations.

The County intends to prioritize those areas most heavily impacted by the bloom while taking into account population density, changing environmental conditions and physical access to potential test sites."

The Army Corps Of Engineers said at a public meeting, Tuesday, cleanup efforts may help temporarily, but a permanent solution for the algae crisis is years away. "There are some methods that you can treat small amounts of blue-green algae, but if you have nutrient latent water, as soon as you clean it, it'll come right back," said LTC Jennifer Reynolds. 

Despite this, residents believe the cleanup is worth it. "I think it's worth a try," said Brian Glover. "I mean, it's better than not doing anything.

The Florida DEP is also providing $700,000 to Lee County to help combat algae and remove it from various tributaries and canals along the Caloosahatchee River. This funding is part of the $3 million grant program through Governor Scott’s State of Emergency.