Scientists concerned about chemicals used to keep Lake O algae out of St. Lucie River–

 

lake O nov. 3 2020 free In: Scientists concerned about chemicals used to keep Lake O algae out of St. Lucie River-- | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

When DeSantis took an unnecessary political junket to Israel some time ago, it showed that he had no qualms about wasting taxpayer money.  He showed that again when he hired  a firm from that country for almost one million dollars, to be paid whether they helped the problem or not, to put poison chemicals into the lake.

Scientists from different universities say the chemicals are dangerous and may kill other organisms in the lake.

Question:  how much money has Florida spent to stop the algae in Lake Okeechobee?  How much money has the red tide and green algae problem cost the state in  reduced tourism money?

We submit that this money would have been better spent in attacking the sources, agricultural runoff and septics.

Poisoning the lake might be a solution.  Maybe draining it would be another??  Or haul all the gypstacks down there and fill it up?

Read the entire, sad, article here in TCPalm.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


Scientists concerned about chemicals used to keep Lake O algae out of St. Lucie River

Tyler Treadway

Treasure Coast Newspapers
Oct. 28, 2020

 

An Israeli firm hired to prevent algae in Lake Okeechobee water from reaching the St. Lucie River hasn’t had to use its algicide yet, but some environmental scientists are concerned about the chemicals and how the company got the job.

Under a $945,000 state contract, BlueGreen Water Technologies deployed at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam, where discharged lake water enters the C-44 Canal and heads toward the estuary, soon after the Army Corps of Engineers began discharges Oct. 14….

The federal Environmental Protection Agency considers microcystin at 8 parts per billion and higher to be too toxic to touch.

A satellite image taken Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, shows a blue-green algae bloom concentrated on the western side of Lake Okeechobee.

BueGreen Water workers take samples looking for algae three times a day at sites along the canal from Port Mayaca to the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, said Clark Modica, a subcontractor with the company.

The company’s three-week contract expires Tuesday, Modica said.

The firm gets paid whether they have to kill a discharged algae bloom or not.

“Of course, we hope there’s no bloom for everyone’s sake,” Modica said Wednesday morning at the company’s encampment. “But at the same time, it would be nice to show how effective the product is.”

Treat with algicide

If they find significant amounts of algae, they will treat it with the company’s Lake Guard Oxy, an algicide made up of sodium percarbonate, which turns into hydrogen peroxide when it hits the water.

Sodium percarbonate is highly toxic. The Lake Guard Oxy packaging labels states: “This pesticide is toxic to birds. This product is highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects exposed to direct contact on blooming crops or weeds.”

“Hydrogen peroxide is a less dangerous chemical than, say copper sulfate, which also is used as an algicide,” said William J. “Bill”  Mitsch, director of the Florida Gulf Coast University’s Everglades Wetland Research Park. “But hydrogen peroxide is still a poison and it’s still going to affect other organisms in the water.”

“But if they kill all algae and not specific-problem algae, well, that can be a problem,” Sullivan said, because algae are the base of the aquatic food web.

More: Algae can be killed, but be careful, says UF prof

“Most algae are good and required for a healthy environment,” he said. “We can’t simply wipe them all out.”

‘Pretty generic killer’

Ed Phlips, an algae expert at the University of Florida, called hydrogen peroxide “a pretty generic killer. If you’ve got enough of it in the water to kill cyanobacteria, you’ve got to wonder what other organisms will be affected.”

Using chemicals to kill algae should be the last resort to dealing with algae blooms, Mitsch said.

Waleed Nasser, BlueGreen Water Technologies’ director of U.S. operations, says the company’s algicide is safe and designed to kill only blue-green algae.

Hydrogen peroxide works by a chemical reaction known as oxidation.

“Blue-green algae is very sensitive to oxidative stress,” Nasser said. “Other types of algae, beneficial algaes like green algae, aren’t nearly as sensitive. So they’re not affected at all.”

Other organisms in the water aren’t affected, Nasser said, because the levels of hydrogen peroxide used to kill blue-green algae are “less than you find in toothpaste.”

The Lake Guard Oxy comes in encapsulated pellets that float so they stay on the water’s surface, where the algae bloom is concentrated. The pellets release algicide over several hours.

“At any given moment, the amount of algicide being released into the water is about 1 part per million,” Nasser said.

‘Secret sauce’

“The secret sauce is the coating,” Modica said. “That’s what makes it float, makes it time-released and makes it different from other algicides.”

Low-density blooms call for a ½ pound to 2½ pounds of algicide per acre while denser blooms call for 5-15 pounds per acre, according to the Lake Guard Oxy package label.

The maximum single application allowed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency is 294 pounds of its algicide per acre in a single application.

The company already had a $1.7 million state contract through the St. Johns River Water Management District to clear algae out of Lake Minneola west of Orlando. The project was designed to see if the algicide could be used effectively on Lake Okeechobee discharges.

BlueGreen Water Technologies got the contract to deploy to Port Mayaca before the Lake Minneola test project event began.

Mitsch said the algicide should be tested locally, with the results evaluated by local scientists, before it’s put into possible large-scale use.

He cited Florida Gulf Coast University’s year-long study to see how buoys emitting ultrasonic waves can be used to kill harmful algae in several lakes in Naples without using algicides.

More: New technology may help in fight against blue-green algae

‘Rush job’

“That’s not happening here,” Mitsch said. “The DEP is apparently skipping those steps and sending money to the company. This appears to be a rush job for who knows what reason — politics or whatever.”

BlueGreen Water Technologies is represented in Tallahassee by The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners, an influential lobbying firm, according to lobbyist records.

More: Warn public of toxic blooms, Blue-Green Algae Task Force says

The rapid deployment to Port Mayaca was “an emergency situation,” Nasser said. “We had to be here within a few hours once the gates were opened.”

The company’s algicide “has been used in thousands of applications, and we’ve not seen any adverse effects to any aquatic plants or animals at all,” he said.

The Blue Green Algae Task Force is schedule to meet Nov. 19, Sullivan said.

“I will certainly bring this up for discussion,” he told TCPalm Wednesday.

Tyler Treadway is an environment reporter who specializes in issues facing the Indian River Lagoon. Support his work on TCPalm.com.  Contact him at 772-221-4219 and [email protected]

 

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