NAPLES, Fla. - It's your money and the City of Naples is trying to save taxpayers millions of it. New water standards released this week by the EPA could have the city spending $20 million on a new water treatment facility; but instead, they got creative and found some cheaper options.
One of their low-cost projects is the city's first filter marsh for storm water.
"We'll clean the nutrients out of the water, we'll clean the sediments out of the water, and then we'll sheet flow it though these mangroves," Mike Bauer, Natural Resources Manager for the city explains.
That water then flows back out to the Gordon River. The cost to taxpayers to build the filter was $200,000, just a fraction of what it costs to built the water treatment plant.
Over the last year the city has also spent $8,000 to put floating islands in the retention ponds.
"The roots of these plants take out a lot of the nasty materials and we've put aerators in there. A couple I'm really proud of are the solar powered aerators," Bauer tells us.
However, one of the cheapest and natural ways of getting pollutants out of our waterways involve bagged oysters.
"We use these bags, put them in the bay. One oyster can clean 50 gallons a day, and there's maybe up to a thousand oysters on a square yard."
Plus, the labor for the project was free. The Boys and Girls Club did it as a community service.
Although these options may not keep Naples from having to spend more money in the distant future, they will do the trick for some years to come.