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Caloosahatchee cyanobacteria demo results announced

August 28, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The problems with excess nutrients discharged into water and resulting toxic algae blooms continue to plague Southwest Florida.

In an effort to evaluate potential remediation solutions, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, AquaFlex Holdings, Sea and Shoreline, and the Calusa Waterkeeper initiated deployment of various configurations of AquaFlex Open-Cell in the Caloosahatchee on Aug. 16 and 17.

The goal of the demonstration was to determine the potential efficacy for simultaneous removal/detection of the algae and accompanying toxins. The technology, first used in 2010 by BP during the DeepWater Horizon oil spill disaster, has been shown to be effective in removing excess phosphorus and oil-related contaminants in other regions.

Article Photos

Samples taken from the AquaFlex Open-Cell foam after the demonstration were analyzed for removal/detection and absorption of algae/cyanotoxins by the Florida- and EPA-approved GreenWater Laboratories, in Palatka. The initial results of the deployment indicated that all configurations of the Open-Cell configurations showed evidence of absorption of algae/toxins into the foam capillary network in concentrations ranging from 45,000 parts per billion to 259,000 parts per billion.

Given the results of the demonstration, further investigation is warranted. The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, in collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University and Sea and Shoreline, are seeking $65,000 in funding for a pilot study of the AquaFlex product over a larger approximate one-acre area, including pre- and post-deployment water quality sampling to assess performance.

The objective of the pilot program is to evaluate scalability and efficacy of implementing the technology to remediate excess nutrient and toxic algae blooms in Florida.

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