Some Comments About The Ongoing Nutrient/Algae Saga
– Dr. Tom Waite, Founder, Ferrate Solutions
Gary Cooper’s synopsis* of recent committee & panel meetings around the state on algae and agriculture demonstrated the level of concern and frustration of committee members about the ongoing nutrient/algae saga. The overriding concern is that agriculture continues to be identified as the primary contributor of excess nutrients to our State’s surface waters. In addition, he points out the ever-growing “rift” between farmers north of Lake O and those to the south caused by differential taxing under the “make polluters pay” amendment to the State Constitution.
Through it all FDEP will take the lead in developing new regulations and new technologies to address this mushrooming environmental cancer caused by excess nutrients being discharged to Florida’s surface waters. FDEP continues to wrestle with effective plans to achieve the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of phosphorus to Lake O established in 2001. FDEP has explored several plans over the past 15 years to meet the TMDL, which is intended to keep the mid-lake concentration of phosphorus below 40 ppb, but concentrations continue to increase. Inflow of phosphorus is now 3-5 times the TMDL. According to the State’s Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan, approximately 70% of the phosphorus load into Lake O is from agricultural sources.
Cooper notes that many committee members are hopeful that new plans and solutions will be developed now that funding has increased.
In fact, both the FDEP & FDACS now need to explore technologies that can truly remove all nutrients from WWTP discharges as well as agricultural runoff. All dischargers need new, cost-effective, reliable technologies that can be implemented quickly. This means removing both nitrogen & phosphorus (recycled), to very low levels. What if such a technology now exists?
It does …. [FeO42-]