Water Quality Summit discusses red tide, blue-green algae solutions

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:

While the destruction of red tide and blue-green algae have disappeared from Southwest Florida shores, people like Sushila Cherian know it is just a matter of time before it returns.

“It’s become worse and worse,” Cherian said. “We’re getting extremely concerned.”

That is why Cherian and hundreds of others came to the Charlotte County Water Quality Summit. Attendees heard from dozens of scientists and water quality experts about what is plaguing our waterways.

“Typically, on an average year we’ll get 30-40 percent of the water that comes into the estuary, the Caloosahatchee estuary, will come from Lake O,” said Phil Flood, who works at the South Florida Water Management District.

The Everglades Restoration Project includes nearly 70 projects to create other places for the water from Lake Okeechobee to go. Since some of those are several years from being finished, some engineering firms recommend looking at short term solutions with septic tanks.

“On-site treatment and disposals systems,” said Terri Lowery, with Jones Edmunds and Associates. “And those systems have treatment capability so that they can reduce the loading of nutrients to the water bodies.”

Suggestions that people living in Southwest Florida come to fruition.

“Everybody talked a good talk,” Cherian said. “But I want to see whether they walk the walk. anybody, everybody can talk, so we’re looking for action.”

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