Algae returns to North Fort Myers

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A short term solution in cleaning up canals is turning out to be shorter than expected.

A contractor began tackling waterways on Friday in North Fort Myers, but it only took about four days for homeowners to start watching the green gunk creep its way back into their yards.

Some compare the work to putting a bandaid on the algae emergency, but it begs the question: is it worth it?

“It was 2 to 3 inches thick and solid with a crust on it,” said North Fort Myers resident Tim Verley said.

If you ask Verley, the view and smell outside his Lochmoor Waterway Estates home was straight out of a horror movie.

“Anywhere you go, you can’t get away from it,” Verley said. “We’re captive inside our house, or we have to go somewhere else.”

After weeks of suffering, a sweet sound of relief as this engineering company showed up, ready to get rid of the problem.

“It took about 2 to 3 days for the smell to go away,” Verley said.

Using this machine to suck up the chunky algae covering this canal.

“Oh it’s 100 percent better, the smell used to be just horrid,” Verley said.

But four days later, neighbors expressed their frustrations,

“Well,it’s starting to come back already,” Verley said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Verley still thinks this is better than nothing.

“We had fish in the canal they were jumping out and everything,” Verley said. “It’s probably the first time we’ve had fish in the canal in 3 (to) 4 weeks.”

Just across the street, another canal reminds him of what he once saw outside his window. One that’s seemingly been untouched since crews started cleaning up the toxic slime.

But is that really relief.

“Is it a solution? No, no it’s not, the solution is at Lake O,” Verley said.

Releases from Lake Okeechobee are still continuing Tuesday night, and the Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t given a timetable for when they’ll stop.

The machine used to clean the algae is now being deployed in Cape Coral, starting at the Cape Coral Yacht Club.

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