Algae cleanup begins in Cape Coral canals

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Algae is blanketing a canal in Cape Coral causing concern for nearby residents. (CREDIT: WINK News)

It’s a gross sight, thick, green algae in canals, but now cleanup efforts are underway to get rid of it in Cape Coral’s Rubicon canal system.

Tuesday marked the first day the City of Cape Coral teamed up with a company to mechanically harvest that thick, green algae in the Rubicon canal system.

During cleanup operations on Tuesday, one of the workboats overturned in the canal.

“Unfortunately, it’s a slight delay, but we’re going to work to get that up and out get harvesting again as soon as we can,” said Bill Kurth, District Manager for SOLitude Lake Management. No one was hurt when the boat flipped.

“In trying to be efficient, my guy took a scoop, the algae is very heavy, and so we had our smaller piece of equipment, the ‘Weedoo,’ it just rolled right over because of the amount of weight we had in the scoop buckets,” said Kurth.

The plan is for the city to work with SOLitude Lake Management to collect and remove the algae out of the Rubicon canal system. It is the first time that the city is attempting to collect and remove the algae. Last year, Cape Coral worked with SOLitude Lake Management to control algae in the Makai and Highlander canals, but used algaecide.

Tuesday’s cleanup work is welcome news for people living along the canal system who say the algae has been a problem for a while.

“The last time you were here it was not as bad as it is today. I mean, it was way back there and now as you can see, it’s all in our, in the front of our dock,” said Cindy Smith, who lives along the canal. “It makes me feel better about the canal, but I wish they’d hurry up.”

The plan is to work on removing the algae over the course of five days. The City of Cape Coral says the area it is cleaning may change or expand as the algae pads move with the tides.

The city says that the algae is not toxic, but can produce a bad smell as it decomposes. It also says if you notice a nauseous smell, stay inside. Until the canals are clean, the city asks residents to be mindful of their use of fertilizer, to pick up after their pets and to keep their pets from ingesting the algae which can upset their digestion.

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