NewsProtecting Paradise

Actions

U.S. Army Corps partners with private sector on algae cleanup project

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 18:58:35-04

MOORE HAVEN, Fla. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with companies from the private sector on a pilot project designed to control harmful algal blooms on large bodies of water. Researchers have worked for the past three weeks in Moore Haven near Lake Okeechobee, testing large-scale skimming technology to remove algae near the water's surface.

"We've been developing a process to harvest intact algae cells, and in so doing we can remove the key nutrients that fuel harmful algal blooms, such as nitrogen and phosphorus," said Dan Levy of AECOM, an engineering company that removed blue-green algae last summer from canals in Cape Coral.

Levy said the pilot program has allowed them to treat 100 gallons per minute, and believes they can increase the rate to 100 million gallons a day. The treatment process physically separates the algae from the water, which is then further treated using oxidation to remove toxins.

"We can capture the biomass, and we can return clean water back," Levy said.

He said the process of removing the algae not only cleans the water, it creates byproducts that other companies are able to turn into a bio-crude oil for diesel and jet fuel, as well as foam for use in sandals and other footwear.

Levy said the equipment for algae removal and treatment is mobile, and can be deployed on trailers and on barges wherever it's needed.