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Cost of blue green algae cleanup of 2018

How DEP funds were allocated to deal with algae
Posted at 11:06 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 23:06:55-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Tuesday, Lee County commissioners awarded a one year contract to Solitude Lake Management to collect and dispose of blue green algae from Lee County canals and other waterways. The services will be used on an as-needed basis. Extensions of the one-year term may be negotiated.

To get an idea of how much this could cost, we looked at the expenses of 2018. That's when Southwest Florida was hit with an environmental double whammy of blue green algae and red tide.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection gave $3.9 million in funding to Lee County to battle both.
About $1.9 million was spent on red tide. The rest was divided in three separate increments.

The county's contract at the time was with AECOM.

The initial amount of $700,000 was approved on August 2, 2018, for initial efforts. Crews determined they would skim and vacuum the algae in the most impacted canals and load them onto trucks, which would be processed and disposed of in a landfill.

About two weeks later was an increase of $560,000 for more collection. A third increase of another $600,000 for another round of clean up efforts, brought the total cost to almost $1.9 million.

Another $150,000 for processing made the total amount spent on clean up efforts to just over $2 million.

By the end of the investment, Lee County says more than 400,000 gallons of blue-green algae were removed, mostly from Cape Coral canals.