Current Update

algae-cleanup.JPGThe county has created a test program to remove the blue-green algae from some of its most impacted waterways using a $700,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. It will remove, process, treat and dispose of harmful algae blooms from select test sites in unincorporated Lee County and affected municipalities, most notably Cape Coral. Lee County has mobilized AECOM, one of the nation’s largest construction and engineering firms with expertise in environmental cleanup, under a state contract for emergency cleanup deployments.

Algae Disposal Process

Once a tanker is filled with algae and liquid, the tanker goes to the North Lee County Reverse Osmosis Plant, where a separate work site has been established to process the material. Liquids and solids are separated in a mobile treatment unit. The liquids are treated to DEP specifications and transferred into an existing 5 million gallon holding pond before it is pumped into a deep-injection well.  The well is 2,600 feet below ground and is below the confined drinking water aquifer.  Solids are transported to the Lee County Landfill located in Hendry County. During the weekend the County processed 30,000 gallons of algae material. The County expects to process between 300,000 and 400,000 gallons as part of this test program. 

The total amount of slurry (blue-green algae and water) picked up so far as of 8/14/2018 is 115,000 gallons - the equivalent of 23 tankers.

 
 


August 21 Update 

At the Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting of the Lee Board of County Commissioners, the Board:

 • Extended the State of Local Emergency for Algae Blooms Resolution (third extension)

• Extended the State of Local Emergency of Harmful Algal Blooms and Drift Macroalgae Resolution (second extension)

 Received a blue-green pilot program update from staff, including:

 • The county has allocated all the dollars from a grant agreement that's in place with DEP for reimbursement of $700,000 to assist with blue-green algae removal and processing.

 • The recovery part of the pilot program is completed. The processing of the algae-water mix – called a slurry – continues to occur.

• The county and DEP staff are in the process of reviewing the progress from the pilot program.

Governor Rick Scott, on August 20th, requested the U.S. Small Business Administration issue an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration to help Florida businesses that are being impacted by algal blooms caused by federal water releases from Lake Okeechobee. The declaration will provide small businesses with low-interest loans so they can recover from the harm caused by these blooms. The Governor requested this declaration for Lee and Martin counties. Once the SBA has approved for these counties, the state will quickly work to include other areas that have been impacted. 

Click HERE to view the request.

 

Week of August 5-12:

  • Crews today continued to work near the Clipper Bay condos in Cape Coral, north of Cape Coral Bridge and just east of Del Prado Boulevard. 

  • The amount of slurry pulled from Lee County waterways to date totals at an estimated 17 tankers at 5,000 gallons each for a total of 85,000 gallons.

  • Recovered material will begin processing for disposal this weekend. The material will be processed at the site of the North Lee County Reverse Osmosis Plant.

  • The algae/water mix collected is tested to assist and verify treatment methods being deployed to meet state-imposed water-quality standards.

  • This is a pilot program. County staff is in contact daily with the state DEP and the contractor. We continue to refine the process and evaluate the results. 

 
Image depicting canal with blue-green algae present

Lee County's Algae Response Timeline

 August 10 - Crews continue to work near the Clipper Bay condos in Cape Coral, north of Cape Coral Bridge and just east of Del Prado Boulevard.

 August 3 - AECOM to begin removing algae in North Fort Myers Waterway Estates Neighborhood

• August 1 - Removal and disposal plan approved by Florida DEP

• July 30 - State approves $700,000 grant for the cleanup in Lee County and affected municipalities, most notably Cape Coral

• July 27 -  Lee Board of County Commissioners approves $150,000 for the effort and directs staff to seek state funding for a test project

• July 25 - Florida Department of Environmental Protections opens Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Management Grant Program 

• July 23 - The Governor authorizes $3 million for an algae cleanup program 

July 9 - Gov. Rick Scott declares state emergency for algal blooms in seven counties, including Lee County

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection asks that residents continue to report blue-green algae blooms. Even if the report is not for a new bloom, it can provide the department with additional information that it uses in its sampling plans. Persistent and re-occurring blooms are resampled.


To report a bloom, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online at www.reportalgalbloom.com.


Current Status of Test Project

Funds for this test are limited. The county, with its municipal partners, is attempting to maximize the number of canals that can be cleaned with the funding available.

As this test project continues during the next three weeks, algae recovery sites will be determined based on severity of the bloom, the number of residents immediately affected, accessibility of the site and changing environmental conditions.

The county will continue to do aerial and field assessments in order to determine collections sites on a daily basis.

Please continue to monitor this site for updates.

​City Information

Visit the links below for more information on the steps the cities are taking:

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DOH Logo

Information about Cyanobacteria & Blue-Green Algae

Main Aquatic Toxins

Call 855-305-3903

DEP Algal Bloom Monitoring & Response