Calusa Waterkeeper testing new device to measure air toxins from blue-green algae, red tide

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Calusa Waterkeeper’s aerosolized detection and harmful algal monitoring device. Credit: WINK News.

A nonprofit dedicated to the protection of our vital water bodies in the region and state is taking matters into its own hands to keep an eye on water and air quality.

Calusa Waterkeeper recently set up a device in its test phases to monitor algae toxins in the air at a Cape Coral resident’s property.

“ADAM is the acronym,” Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani said. “We call it aerosolized detection and harmful algal monitoring device.”

That’s just what this tool does. It now sits along a Cape Coral backyard canal. Volunteers with Calusa Waterkeeper teamed up to design it.

“It’s a real simple concept,” Cassani said. “There’s a little vacuum pump inside the cabinet device. It draws air in through this filter, and then, it goes through a bubbler and to water, and then, it keeps pulling the air in from the vacuum pump.”

The goal is to measure toxins in the air from blue-green algae and red tide. Cassani says the organization will run the device in 24-hour test runs and then send samples to Brain Chemistry Labs in Wyoming to look for toxins.

“We’re learning a lot as we go,” Cassani said. “We know these aerosols can travel many miles over land, and they do contain the aerosolized particles that have toxins in them if an algae bloom is present and the conditions are right.”

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