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DeSantis stops by Franklin Lock in Lee County to see blue-green algae treatment

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped by Franklin Lock on Thursday to see firsthand the blue-green algae and how it’s being treated.

It has been a problem recently and is igniting conversation about a repeat of 2018’s water crisis.

Crews have recently started using algaecide on the water’s surface to dissolve the algae, which isn’t a problem exclusive to our area. Israeli company BlueGreen Water Technologies is using the algaecide to combat the algae we’ve seen at Franklin Lock.

“When I did the trade mission in 2019, you know, meeting with, I mean we were meeting with government officials, we were meeting with these companies, there was some really cool stuff, some stuff about medicine, this, and then this company comes about algae and I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, I need that,'” DeSantis said.

It’s why he wanted to see how it works and meet the people who make it happen.

“The product interacts with the toxic species over a couple of hours and causes them to die and causes naive species to undergo the same,” said Dr. Eyal Harel, CEO of BlueGreen.

But people want to make sure it’s safe to use.

“This hydrogen peroxide-based product does break down within the day, it turns into water and oxygen, right, so that’s why we were OK testing this product, but still, it’s an algaecide, so we look at all the labeling, the EPA approvals,” said Drew Bartlett, director of the South Florida Water Management District.

While DeSantis looks forward to treatment methods, it’s also a matter of messaging.

“When you’re dealing with this, when we’re trying to mitigate, we just want to be careful as to not send a message that somehow you can’t go to the beach in Fort Myers right now because that’s just totally not true,” the governor said.

The technology being used at Franklin Lock is one of a few methods SFWMD is using to combat harmful algal blooms here and in places like the Pahokee Marina on the east side of Lake Okeechobee.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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