Toxic Algae Removal

Lake Okeechobee, Florida, United States

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In 2016, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and closed all beaches in three counties along the east coast of Florida due to harmful algal blooms (HABs).

Such blooms have become one of the most scientifically complex and economically destructive environmental issues facing us today. They can produce toxins that threaten human health, aquatic ecosystems, and drinking water. In the U.S. alone, they cost an estimated $1 billion each year in damages.

AECOM has been a leader in HAB research and has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a scalable algae removal technology with mitigation efforts focused on full lake and ecological restoration. They system was tested on Lake Okeechobee in 2019 and proved effective in removing algae and the key nutrients fueling HAB development – all without harmful environmental impacts.

Client Benefits

  • AECOM’s work on this project provided much needed relief to the community, improving air quality, reducing effects to sea life, and improving quality of life for residents and tourists.
  • Treatment and dilution with plant effluent reduced microcystin levels below 1 part per billion, as agreed with Florida Department of Environmental Protection, prior to disposal in the County’s deep injection well.