HAVANA, Fla. (WTXL) — Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations and Management, known as AECOME, is reducing algae in waters, while using it as fertilizer.
The global engineering firm is involved with environmental work. AECOM earned a grant for this project from the Environmental Protection Agency worth a little under $1 million.
Their Algae Harvester takes water from ponds, lakes and rivers and runs through a machine separating the algae from the water. Once it's separated, the clean water is pumped back into the water while the algae stays to be harvested.
The Algae Harvester can suck in 700 gallons of water per minute, which equates to about 1 million gallons of water per day.
According to AECOM, the system is separated into three different chambers, which separates the algae from the water making the water healthier and cleaner.
AECOM’s Senior Environmental Scientist Byron Winston says 50% of fertilizer used in yards and farms is wasted which is ending up in local ponds, rivers and oceans.
"It directly effects your ability to go out to the lake, it directly effects your drinking water and going out to the river," Winston said.
The engineering firm has used these nutrients in field trials and have seen they can preserve up to 50% of fertilizers that they recover from ponds they have tested. They said some of their algae harvesters have preserved 90% of nutrients from flowing into local bodies of water and the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's important because it can have handful of health effects for you, your pets and on the environment," Winston said.
The project's goal is to be a sustainable way to create less toxic waste flowing into local waters.
"We can recover those nutrients for agricultural operations to prevent them from going into our waters and causing unwanted issues," Bryon Winston said.