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Could Florida’s Nasty Algae Problem Have An Upside? That Green Slime Is Valuable Commodity

Matias J. Ocner
A tank holds blue green algae in a filtration system the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is testing this week at Alvin Ward Park in Moore Haven, Florida.

Could algae, the fish-killing bane of Lake Okeechobee and Florida’s coastal waters, actually become a valuable state product? Think orange juice, except green, slimy and terrible tasting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private partners think there is a possibility.

The Corps is experimenting with a project that uses a skimming system connected to a high-tech filter to suck up algae-laced water, clean it and return it clean to Lake Okeechobee. The thick mat of green gunk that’s left could have commercial value, used for everything from producing fuel to yoga mats and even sneakers.

The pilot project is being tested in a makeshift plant built upstream of the Moore Haven Lock and Dam, on the southwestern edge of the lake. Successful tests have been running for two weeks, with water being pumped into four tanks as big as car trains and filtered in a noisy separation system. It comes out crystal clear.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

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