Originally published by The News-Press on June 16, 2021 by Amy Bennett Williams

After a governor’s visit, the hoisting of the Israeli flag and multiple treatments with six tons of algaecide, the water at the W.P. Franklin Lock is still not safe.

Cyanobacteria toxins in the area remain so high that Lee County’s health department is urging people and their pets to stay out of the river along the Caloosahatchee’s south shore, despite repeated doses of Lake Guard Oxy, a hydrogen peroxide-based product intended to kill cyanobacteria.

But Sean Cooley, communication director for the South Florida Water Management District, which partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the test run, says the $750,000 project wasn’t a failure.

“We ran a great pilot and saw promising results to addressing toxic blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee,” Cooley said. “We will continue to monitor algae conditions, in partnership with DEP, to see if we need to deploy additional innovative technologies.”
Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani is not convinced.

“Apparently they’re still treating,” said Cassani, who’s seen “plenty of residue on the (lock’s) freshwater side and plenty of cyanobacteria on the marine side, so whatever they’re doing is not really doing the job so much.”

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