City of Jacksonville releases new water quality study to reduce algae blooms

Keeping local storm water ponds clean

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The city of Jacksonville is working on a new study to help improve the quality of water around the city and reduce algae blooms.

City leaders say Jacksonville is one of the first cities in Florida to use Microbe-Lift, a formula with bacteria used to reduce the amount of nitrogen in stormwater.

The city’s environmental quality division tells Action News Jax the nutrients in stormwater ponds is a food source for nitrogen.

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“If we can reduce total nitrogen, we’re hoping to make an impact on the river and see less algae growth in there, which we tend to see during in the summer times,” said Melissa Long, the Chief of Environmental City Quality Division.

Action News Jax told you last month that toxins from algae blooms can cause skin and breathing problems.

The city says it's adding the Microbe-Lift to nine stormwater ponds that will act like good bacteria and eat up all the nutrients in the ponds.

The city is using the biological in a two-year study where nine additional stormwater ponds untreated.

The city says if they see the reduced nitrogen they’re hoping to see in two years then they’ll use the Microbe-Lift product throughout Jacksonville.

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“Normal stormwater treatment, you get about a 20% reduction in total nitrogen. We’re hoping to see about a 60% reduction with the addition of the Microbe-Lift,” said Long.

The city says homeowners can also do their part by cutting down on the amount of water they use on their yards and planting trees and plants that absorb fertilizer nutrients that could otherwise get into our waterways.

The city is partnering with the FDOT, the St. Johns Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to help fund the $300,000 project.