Thursday, 01 February 2007 00:00
Turf ScrubberWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The Taylor Creek Nutrient Recovery Facility opens today – just outside the city of Okeechobee. As Valerie Alker reports it’s a new approach to removing nutrients from water flowing into Lake Okeechobee.
It works like this. Water from Taylor Creek will be diverted to a large pool with a flourishing population of algae which in theory eat and therefore remove the nutrients nitrogen and phosphate. Taylor Creek is a major tributary of Lake Okeechobee and has a history a nutrient problems. Fifteen million gallons of water a day will be treated. South Florida Water District Water Shed Manager Susan Gray says the nutrient recovery facility may provide an alternative to large filtration marshes.
“We know it is a smaller footprint and has more intensive management operations but once you balance out the size of the facility and the management versus a passive system which is very large, is it still competitive. The original experimental study looked very good which is why we’re interested in seeing how it performs on a larger scale.”
Project managers estimate their “Algal Turf Scubber” will remove two metric tons of phosphorous a year from Taylor Creek. Funding comes the Water Management District and the Florida Department of Agriculture. It’s build on land owned by the water district.
South Florida Water Managers unveil a new system for removing nutrients from water today. The Taylor Creek Algal Turf Scrubber Nutrient Recovery facility is on land owned by the water management district just north of Lake Okeechobee. Taylor Creek is a major tributary. The District’s Susan Gray says the facility diverts the water from the creek and uses naturally occurring algea to remove the nutrients.
“It’s taking advantage of the natural nutrient uptake you can get from algae that grow on a fairly flat surface. The whole idea being that algae are very efficient at taking out nutrients from the water – it can take up the material and then they’re harvested and the material can then be used in compost or potentially other uses.”
Gray says the “Turf Scrubber” technology takes up much less land than filtration marshes. She says its effectiveness will be evaluated based on nutrient measurements of Taylor Creek’s water before and after the algae treatment. If it works as well as predicted, the technology could adapted for use throughout the water district.