BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Ongoing efforts to restore the struggling Indian River Lagoon continue. But now there's a mobile method to collect dangerous algae that is harming the waterway.

What You Need To Know

  • The Indian River Lagoon has dangerous algae harming the waterway

  • An algae-harvesting ship is cleaning things up

  • The algae-harvesting ship is a partnership between Brevard County Natural Resources and the Florida DEP

A ship designed to clean it up in a hurry.

There’s no place Trevor Campbell would rather be than on the water.

Campbell is a Tampa native who knew he wanted to work outdoors doing something he loved early on, like looking out for the environment.

“I grew up on the beach, playing a lot of sports, getting dirty in the dirt, there’s nothing like coming home and drinking that fresh hose water, you don’t want that water messed up,” Campbell said.

Fast forward to now, and Campbell and his team are on this vessel, anchored on the lagoon in Melbourne.

It’s known as an algae-harvesting ship, designed to combat the aquatic plants fueled by nutrients and pollution, doing serious damage to the waterway.

The goal is for Campbell, who is leading the project, to demonstrate a technology that can help.

"This is essentially a mobile wastewater treatment system. We're taking raw lagoon water into our system, introducing a couple of additives to the water to help the algae clump together, and then we introduce micro-bubbles that float that algae to the top. We skim that off and collect that algae out of the water," he explained.

The goal is to keep the algae intact along with the nutrients inside, curbing growth and preventing future toxic blooms.

Campbell wants anyone watching their work from the shoreline to know all the efforts to bolster cleaning up the polluted lagoon.

“This is here to help. This isn’t just some barge out here doing some crazy, wacky snake oil experiment. This is proven technology. I want them to see our logo and know we are here to help,” he said.

Over the next five weeks, the ship will suck up 700 gallons of water a minute to go through the process.

That’s the equivalent of one million gallons in a 24-hour day.

“We have 300 feet of six-inch suction line being floated into the water, from the very end we have elastic skimmers that collect the top three inches of water, we want that because that’s where the algae is most productive, they are photosynthetic critters, they want to be up near the sunlight,” Campbell said.

Campbell will be on board overseeing the endeavor, hoping this algae ship experiment will become a permanent, viable solution to a problem that’s decades in the making.

The algae-harvesting ship is a partnership between Brevard County Natural Resources and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.