Israeli scientists called in to stop toxic algae bloom in Florida lake – The Jerusalem Post

Source: Israeli scientists called in to stop toxic algae bloom in Florida lake – The Jerusalem Post

Israeli scientists who specialize in cleaning algae from large bodies of water were called in to save an estuary in Florida last week from an ecological disaster due to the spread of toxic blue-green algae.

The company, BlueGreen Water Technologies, was given a $945,000 state contract to keep the toxic algae in Lake Okeechobee from getting into the St. Lucie River estuary.

The algae spread in the waters of Lake Okeechobee and from there to the canals and rivers around it. Blue-Green algae create enormous damage to the local agriculture, fisheries, tourism, economy and infrastructure, in addition to being toxic in humans and animals due to bacteria that develop on top of the algae secreting toxins.

The Israeli team from the BlueGreen company have developed a unique technological solution called Lake Guard. From a raft that floats on the water, the technology disperses measured amounts of a green substance named Lake Guard Oxy, a hydrogen-peroxide based algicide which eliminates the algae and bacterial colonies on them, while preserving the surrounding vegetation, fish and animals.

The affected bacteria transmit chemical distress signals that are absorbed by additional groups of bacteria in the lake and cause them to collapse in a chain reaction.

BlueGreen’s Israeli team was flown to Florida under the direct instruction of Florida Gov. Ron de Santis, following successful previous attempts to deal with outbreaks of toxic algae in China, South Africa, Russia, Israel and the United States.

Lake Okeechobee covers an area of ​​2,200 square kilometers (13 times the size of the Sea of ​​Galilee) and is a major tourist and recreation center. The algae bloom, which feeds on fertilizers that flowed into the lake, turned its normally-clear waters to an unclear, greenish-brown color with a pungent odor. Contact with the water can cause serious illness and is especially dangerous for children and animals.

The damage is particularly severe because it is a water-based economy and the lives of its inhabitants exist around the lake and its canals. The fear is that the opening of the dams will cause the hazard to spread to rivers, man-made canals and the shores of Florida while extending the ecological disaster to other vast areas.

‘We responded quickly to an emergency call from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In a very complex logistical process, we were able to put up a control station on the shores of the lake less than 36 hours from the call,” said Maayan Naveh, VP of BlueGreen.

“It is a great pride to assimilate Israeli technology that brings the animals back to the water and stops a violent attack of rapidly increasing toxic algae,” Naveh added.