Cape Coral plans to install 10 bubble curtains to fight blue-green algae in canals

A water crisis took over Cape Coral canals in 2018, spawning blue-green algae.

Since then, Cape Coral has tested bubble curtains.

Now, it is ready to deploy the curtains in 10 different canals.

“We’ve been permitting with the Army Corps of Engineers for some time now. You know, it is taking a little bit longer than the city would like the process to take,” said Michael Ilczyzyn, public works director for the City of Cape Coral.

Ilczyzyn said each bubble curtain will cost $75,000. 

City council has to come up with $750,000 ix taxpayer dollars to hopefully keep the canals clean.

“Anybody that’s part of the stormwater program basically pays an annual assessment to the city and those funds are being utilized for this preventative technology,” Ilczyzyn said. 

As to where the project currently stands, the city is going to start installing three of the machines above ground as they wait for the remaining seven bubble curtains to arrive.

Next, the Army Corps of Engineers has to approve the water installation.

“We’re initiating the upland work, basically, in advance to have that ready when we do get to in-water work permit,” Ilczyzyn said.

The way the curtains work is by creating a wall of microscopic bubbles that should keep algae away from canals, Ilczyzyn said.

“Us doing nothing is worse than this being deployed,” Ilczyzyn said.

The process of getting the rest of the curtains installed is has stalled because the city has to make sure the curtains don’t harm any endangered species.

“That’s the wrestling that we’ve been having, is trying to convey the things that we’re doing are actually beneficial for the environment and beneficial for the species,” said Ilczyzyn.

Reporter:Michelle Alvarez
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