Cape Coral residents could be seeing some relief from the algae buildup in their waterways.
“For a couple days I couldn’t even go out there,” said Armando Gambino who has lived in Cape Coral for over a decade. “Sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more, but you can smell it.”
Earlier this month, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties.
For residents like Gambino, relief couldn’t come soon enough.
“This is one of the worst years that I can remember, living down here, I mean it’s evident. it’s floating in the water in the canals, it’s pretty unsightly,” said resident Jason Wilson.
But now, steps towards a solution are underway. Lee County Commissioners say they are currently in negotiations with an algae removal service.
“People are not able to breath because the algae is so bad, so it’s really important to us, we are using every effort to clean up some of the algae from the canals.”
With a $3 million grant from the state, the county plans to have a vendor service physically remove the algae from hard-hit areas.
Governor Scott said, “As our state once again faces harmful algal blooms from federal water releases, we continue to take a multifaceted approach to protect families and ensure Florida’s pristine environment and natural treasures are protected. While we continue to focus on federal repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike and water storage in the EAA Reservoir, this $3 million in emergency state funding will help our local communities quickly respond to and mitigate algal blooms, ensuring the safety of Florida families and protecting jobs.”
Officials are evaluating the algae-affected areas and deciding how much to safely dispose of as well as searching for long-term projects.
DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “As we continue our focus on long-term and larger-scale solutions, such as the EAA reservoir, rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike and reviewing innovative technologies, we are also committed to partnering with local communities to address immediate impacts. We encourage local counties to work with DEP to take advantage of this grant program and to help us move forward with these longer term solutions.”
Lee County officials have not released the name of the vendor but plan to do so when a contract is officially signed. They tell WINK News that could be a few days away.