Cape Coral still running ‘bubble curtain’ pilot program as algae returns

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:

New “bubble curtain” technology is being put to the test in Cape Coral to stop blue-green algae from invading the Caloosahatchee.

While homeowners wait for results, algae is already making a comeback and many are starting to doubt the efficiency of the new tool which could act as a shield against algal blooms.

Peter Formica is happy to see fish again in Clippers Bay after a rough summer of canals clogged with thick algae.

“This year was so bad that if you threw a coconut out there it wouldn’t go through the algae, that’s how thick and hard it was on top,” he said.

The water crisis was so bad, he took matters into his own hands.

“I put some pumps in to variate the water,” he said.

Further down the way in Mandalay Canal, the City of Cape Coral is testing a different solution with bubble curtain technology.

City Utility Director Jeff Pearson said they are using sawdust and tracer dye to act as algae and so far they say it looks like bubble curtain could help mitigate floating material.

“The diffuses disperse the air in an organized pattern,” he said.

Sherri Ward who lives on Cabot Canal is hoping another pilot test supported by the City will help break down the blue-green algae.

“If it’s coming back there how long before it’s back down here,” she said.

Formica says he’s placing his bets on the bubble curtain.

“It’s a permanent solution, but those lines are going to have to be maintained, replaced and everything like that, there’s going to need to be more money thrown at this bubble curtain,” Formica said.

Pearson says that they are still evaluating both pilot tests so in the future they will know how to mitigate the issue and the severity of the algae outbreak.

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