Ultrasonic sound buoys could solve SWFL’s algae problems

A Lee County Commissioner is urging the governor’s office to buy ultrasonic sound buoys, which uses ultrasonic waves to kill algae, to make sure the toxic, green algae out of Southwest Florida waterways.

Just weeks away from the rainy season, North Fort Myers resident Joanne Kreise is already worried about what her canal will look like, and fears algae may return.

“It’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s a matter of when because it’s going to happen and we’re all affected by it,” Kreise said.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman shares those same fears. So, he hopes the ultrasonic sound buoys could be an interim solution. Developers claim the buoys kill algae.

“My thought was section off part of Lake Okeechobee, do a pilot project to see if these buoys work to kill the algae while it’s in the lake to keep it from being sent to our coast,” Hamman said.

Hamman hopes he and other commissioners from across the state can convince lawmakers to fund the pilot program on Lake Okeechobee.

LG Sonic out of the Netherlands makes the sonic buoys.

“What the ultrasound does is it puts a pressure layer of sound on the top layer of the water surface. It presses the algae down into a deeper level of the water. Body algae needs sunlight just like plants to grow so pushing them down in a deeper layer, you can actually prevent them from getting late and getting into a blue stage,” said Lisa Brand, Chief Technology Officer of LG Sonic.

Brand says these buoys have been used in 15 countries, including the United States of America. LG Sonic has seen up to a 90 percent reduction of algae in those lakes. But, FGCU scientist Serge Thomas worries Lake Okeechobee’s almost constant discharges will hinder success.

“Because, the time to contact between the ultrasound and the algae will be short because it’s moving water,” Thomas said.

Kreise doesn’t believe that should stop us from trying.

“I am 100 percent willing to risk m taxpayer dollars on a fix on trying something that could ultimately be the answer here,” Kreise said.

LG Sonic is touring Florida hoping it can be a player in solving the water crisis.

The company won’t say how much this pilot program would cost.

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