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SJRWMD to share innovative algal bloom treatment contract with water managers, FDEP

PALATKA – At Gov. Ron DeSantis’s direction to deploy innovative technology to actively assess and address critical blue-green algal conditions, the St. Johns River Water Management District is now offering other Florida water management districts and the State of Florida access to a proprietary algicide treatment to fight cyanobacterial, or blue-green algae, blooms.

In support of Gov. DeSantis’ Achieving More Now For Florida’s Environment plan (Executive Order 19-12) to protect Florida’s environment and with funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the District entered into an agreement with BlueGreen U.S. Water Technologies (BGWT) in early 2020 to evaluate the potential of its Lake Guard Oxy Technology, a proprietary innovative product that selectively targets cyanobacteria, in preventing and/or controlling algal bloom formation in Lake Minneola.

“Our agreement with BGWT was amended in October 2020 to allow FDEP to respond to emergency conditions in the South Florida Water Management District that required water releases from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “The Board has now ensured that each of our partner water management districts and FDEP can take rapid actions by accessing this contract without delay when critical harmful algal bloom (HAB) conditions are present.”

The update allows funding treatments up to $5 million from a variety of funding sources should potential bloom conditions occur across Florida.

The District recently completed the final treatment application of a six-month pilot project to test BGWT’s innovative treatment to suppress and control cyanobacterial blooms at Lake Minneola in Lake County.

An overabundance of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can increasingly be found in Florida’s waterways, including its rivers. Potentially HABs also can result in human health advisories and closures of recreational areas by local health departments, harm fish and wildlife, as well as causing local and regional economic impacts.

Between November 2020 and May 2021, using a combination of collected field data, water samples to guide application of the hydrogen peroxide-based product, the BGWT pilot project identified algal-prone areas in Lake Minneola and then deployed its technology in strategic locations to reduce current or forming cyanobacterial blooms. During the pilot study, Lake Minneola received 14 treatments.

With the Lake Mineola pilot treatments now complete, the contract calls for a final report to be issued and a public meeting to be scheduled. Visit the project webpage or follow the District on social media for updates as they are posted.