Thinking outside the box to help improve water quality
July 30, 2020
As we wrap up the national observance of Lakes Appreciation Month, I am happy to report that the St. Johns Water Management District is kicking off an innovative lake water quality improvement pilot project in Central Florida.
Last night, the District and contractor BlueGreen U.S. Water Technologies, Inc. (BGWT) held a virtual public meeting providing an overview of the company’s technology to treat harmful algal blooms on Lake Minneola in Lake County. This test project dovetails with our core missions of water quality and natural systems.
The project grew out of a coordinated, statewide effort to address algal blooms. Florida’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force provided recommendations for addressing water quality challenges and then, with support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Legislature appropriated grant funding for the testing of new techniques.
Several grants were awarded for innovative projects across Florida, and we’re pleased the list includes this pilot project to control, eliminate and possibly prevent algal blooms from forming in Lake Minneola. Lake Minneola has been plagued with cyanobacteria (potentially harmful blue-green algae), making it a prime candidate to test a pilot remediation project. As with many of these pilot projects, we’ll be looking forward to “proof of concept” and seeing if the process is scalable for use elsewhere in the District and state.
Using a combination of field and remote sensing data, water samples and a hydrogen peroxide-based product, the BGWT pilot project will work to identify algal-prone areas in Lake Minneola and deploy its technology in strategic locations to reduce current or emerging algal blooms. The District has entered into a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to provide the support for contracting with BGWT to test its technology. With initial deployment planned for next month, the contractor expects the pilot project to operate for at least six months.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the virtual meeting as we look for innovative ways to improve water quality around the District. Thanks also to Gov. DeSantis, DEP and our lawmakers who have championed funding and collaboration to protect the waterways that make Florida special. For more information on the project, head to www.sjrwmd.com/projects/#lake-minneola.