Cape Coral fine-tunes bubble curtains meant to fight blue-green algae

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro
Published: Updated:

The damage from Ian is visible on the surface. But one area below the surface is getting fine-tuning.

Divers along the Everest canal recently went under to work on “bubble curtains.”

The water is absent of blue-green algae and that’s how water-front homes and business owners want to keep it. The curtains are designed to prevent toxic blue-green algae from surfacing in canals like the Everest, and they do it by using a wall of bubbles.

The bubbles act as armor, protecting people, the water and wildlife from experiencing another 2018, when blue-green algae covered Cape Coral canals like thick matting.

In 2018, blue-green algae took over some of Cape Coral’s canals.

“We’re better prepared today than we were in the past,” said Mike ilczyszyn, Cape Coral’s interim city manager.

Ilczyszyn was there as the city rolled out the bubble curtains last August.

“If there’s a blue-green algae outbreak in Lake Okeechobee and we see that coming down the river, or if there’s one that starts in the river and starts being released our way, we are intending on turning on these bubble curtains,” he said at the time.

Bubble curtain (CREDIT: WINK News)

And after Ian, the system needed some maintenance along the Everest canal. The divers checked and replaced diffuser plates at the bottom of the canal. Air on land is pumped through tubes and out of the plates creating bubbles and forming an air curtain.

The wall of air will act as a kind of physical barrier or deflection shield for that algae.

It mixes the water column, breaking up any algae on the surface and puts oxygen in the water. The city has 10 of these systems throughout Cape Coral.

The in-water maintenance on the Everest canal bubble curtain will continue until Friday.

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