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Lee County completes pilot program to remove algae from canals

Posted at 7:16 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 06:27:29-04

Lee County has allocated all of the $700,000 provided by the Department of Environmental Protection for removing blue-green algae from Southwest Florida canals - but there is still a lot of the thick slime in many of the county's waterways. 

Karl Wade has lived on a canal in North Fort Myers for two and a half years. He used to love the view from his yard, but says that the thick layer of algae covering the water is a sad sight.

"I used to have dolphins go by, ducks and everything," Wade said. "Now, there's nothing."

A few weeks ago, Lee County started a pilot program that gave homeowners like Wade some hope - by paying the engineering firm AECOM to remove truckloads of the smelly slime from canals.

But that phase of the program is over, and the county has already allocated all of the grant money earmarked for that project. The algae/water mix that was removed is still being processed, before it will be put in a landfill.

Fox 4 emailed county officials to find out if there are any plans to continue taking algae out of the canals.

"The county and DEP staff are in the process of reviewing the progress from this particular pilot program, and discussing potential next steps," Lee County spokesman Tim Engstrom replied. 

Wade hopes they're able to come up with more money - and more solutions for another clean-up soon.

"It's just a green mess," Wade said. "I think it's about time that we solved it."