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Man builds device to remove algae

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 06:58:51-04

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A North Fort Myers man is taking matters into his own hands when it comes to blue-green algae covering his canal, Monday.

Gary Scicluna is a retired hydraulic engineer. He's been dealing with foul-smelling algae in the canal in back of his house for weeks, and says the oder is unbearable. He's also concerned because he doesn't know what health effects exposure to the algae could have on humans long term. That's why he's building a device to help skim some of the algae out. "The concept is to be able to skim the water and catch it, keep it into as big a clump as we can and get it back out to the river to keep the canals clear," Scicluna said.

The skimming tool he created is made of simple materials: foam pool noddles and wood. He plans to build it big enough to cover a canal, and attach a fine net underneath to catch as much algae as possible. "I'm going to do a small test with it, then I will enlarge it, make it full scale, use the outriggers on my boat to tie from each end in hopes of being able to cover a wide canal in one sweep," said Scicluna.

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To give us a better idea of what this would look like, Gary and his son, Dylan, did a demonstration in their pool using Dylan's pool toys. The tool didn't catch all the pool toys, and a full scale model might not catch all the algae, but Scicluna believes it's worth a try. "Everybody seems to be looking at it and talking about it, but no one is doing anything about it," he said. "Getting any out if better than letting it sit there."

Scicluna said he's seen others experimenting with algae in canals with chemicals and algae eaters, but he fears those methods will cause more harm to the environment than has already been done.