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Water-Related News

Lake Jesup pilot project to remove algae, nutrients from lake water

Harvesting equipment arrived this week at Lake Jesup

MAITLAND – The St. Johns River Water Management District is launching a pilot project this week to harvest and remove algae, suspended solids and associated nutrients from Lake Jesup’s waters. The project’s data will help the District determine the potential for a full-scale system to help achieve state water quality standards established for Lake Jesup.

“A great deal of work has been accomplished since the District made Lake Jesup a priority basin nearly 20 years ago, starting with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) adoption of Total Maximum Daily Loads for phosphorus,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Thanks to agency and public partners, we are making progress reducing nutrient sources and concentrations to improve the lake’s water quality and clarity.”

“Science, innovation and partnership are all critical components of our efforts to combat harmful algal blooms,” said DEP Interim Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “DEP is committed to continued collaboration with state and local partners on these critical efforts.”

“Seminole County is excited to be a part of the cooperative effort with the St. Johns River Water Management District to help harvest harmful blue-green algae accumulating in Lake Jesup,” said Lee Constantine, chairman of the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners. “We are committed to do everything we can to improve the quality of lakes, rivers and all water bodies of Seminole County.

The pilot project begins operation in early August. A harvesting unit mounted on a barge will be transported around Lake Jesup so that algae can be harvested at various locations. An innovative dissolved air flotation technology will be used to attach microscopic air bubbles to algae and suspended sediment, allowing efficient separation of algal biomass and clarified water. Clarified water will return to the lake while algal biomass will be managed/treated at Seminole County’s Yankee Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Lake Jesup, the largest lake in Seminole County, is a hydrologically complex system with a large, urbanized watershed. The lake is shallow with a relatively low flushing rate and drains a 150-square-mile watershed, including portions of Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Park, Casselberry, Maitland, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Eatonville, Winter Springs and Orlando in Seminole and Orange counties.

The pilot project received $1.65 million in 2020 through a DEP Harmful Algal Bloom Innovate Technology Project Grant.