CAPE CORAL — Using bubbles to block algae.
That’s the plan the City of Cape Coral is considering investing in to protect several of its canals, but it’s not cheap. The technology costs from $50,000 to $75,000 per canal, so the City has to be strategic about where to use it.
Mayor John Gunter remembers how bad the algae got just three years ago.
“I had first-hand experience, because the blue green algae was right behind my house," said Gunter.
That’s what the bubble curtains would try to prevent. The City first tested the technology in the Mandolin Canal back in 2018.
"It creates little bubbles, floats to the surface, and then creates like a curtain or a wall of air in the water and at the surface that kind of deflects any type of algae," said Assistant Public Works Director Michael Ilcyszyn.
Ilcyszyn said, at the very least, City staff are recommending putting those bubble curtains at the mouth of three major canals.
“At least deploy bubble curtains on those three, because it has the greatest impact to the residents," said Ilcyszyn.
But to be more protected, the City is asking Council members to approve spending around $750,000 to protect all 10 canals in the City’s most vulnerable area. Gunter thinks it’s something his fellow Council members will strongly consider.
“I would think that Council would probably lean more towards being proactive than reactive," said Gunter.
Gunter said it’s proactive, because the bubble curtains last for several years. They aren’t a perfect solution, but Gunter said, it might be the best one the City has right now.
"If we can mitigate it 50 percent, it’s going to be much better than what we experienced in 2018," said Gunter.
Cape Coral City Council is holding a special meeting Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 at City Hall. Council members will be hearing more information from staff about the exact price tag, and they’ll be casting votes on how many of these curtains they think are necessary.