This week Lee County Commissioners accepted a $180,000 Innovative Technologies Grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a water quality and treatment research project.
The research, in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University and the South Florida Water Management District, will test various methods for removal of nitrogen from the Caloosahatchee River surface waters in order to improve water quality.
The research will take place at the C-43 Water Quality Treatment and Testing Project Boma site in Glades County, which includes 12 tanks, called mesocosms, containing wetland vegetation that were used to conduct a water quality assessment of nutrient removal from Caloosahatchee River water that was allowed to flow through the wetland cells.
This project will utilize some of these mesocosms to test innovative technology that could reduce nutrients in water bodies, and prevent or mitigate harmful algal blooms.
The Caloosahatchee estuary has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) state designation for Total Nitrogen and an adopted State of Florida Basin Management Action Plan to lower this pollutant. Commissioners spend millions of dollars annually on projects to reduce pollutants in the estuary.