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Relationship Between

Nutrient Pollution and Algae Blooms

BRIAN LAPOINTE
Scientific Researcher & Expert,
Harbor Branch Research Center

#SAVEOURWATER

Nutrient Pollution and Eutrophication in Floridas Waters


"Thefundamentaldrivingforceisthe
accumulationofnitrogenandphosphorus
infreshwateronitswaytothesea."
Increasednitrogen(N),phosphorus(P)
concentrations
AlteredN:PRatio
HarmfulAlgalBlooms
DeadZones

Sources of Nutrient Pollution in Florida


Sewage
Fertilizers
Agriculturalrunoff
Reclaimedwater
Industry
Stormwaterrunoff
Atmosphericinputs

Floridas Wastewater Treatment1


EstimatedNloadingfromsepticsystemsin
Floridaissubstantial1
Fertilizer:1.4 1011 gN/yr
Septicsystems:2.4 4.9 1010 gN/yr
Atmosphericinputs:5.9 9.4 109 gN/yr
Reclaimedwater:1.2 108 2.6 1010 gN/yr
RecentstudiesinFloridasspringsandthe
IndianRiverLagoonindicatesepticsystemsare
amajorsourceofNpollutionandhavebeen
greatlyunderestimatedinmanynutrient
loadingmodels
1:Badruzzmanetal.2012

Point Source and Non-Point Source Nutrient Pollution

Red Tides in Southwest Florida: Karenia brevis


Major blooms (> 8 months) have followed
high rainfall and/or large Lake O water releases
(1947, 1974, 1983, 1995, 2005)
Stormwater runoff increases nitrogen
concentrations,
which support red tide blooms
N isotopes in 2005 red tide off Sanibel matched
nitrogen source at S-79 and wastewater sources

Brand & Compton 2007

Red Drift Algae Blooms Emerge in Southwest Florida


These are fast-growing red seaweeds
whose growth is accelerated by high
nutrients
Thrive in sewage polluted environments
(e.g. Tampa Bay, 1970s)
Cause ecological and economic impacts,
including foul odors that affect tourism
N isotope levels in Lee County red drift
algae between 2004-2007showed a strong
wastewater contribution

Harmful Algal Blooms in the Indian River Lagoon

Excessive freshwater releases


Nutrient and contaminant pollution
Decades of macroalgae blooms
Recent superblooms and brown tide
Loss of seagrass
Decline of fisheries
Emerging diseases and mortalities in wildlife
(manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans,
fish)

Florida Bay and the Florida Keys

Action Item 1
SeptictanksdonotprotectFloridas
waterresources
Thisisaninadequateinfrastructureproblem
inmanyareasofFlorida,andarapidlygrowing
sourceofnutrientpollution
Needpoliticalsupportforstatematching
fundsforseptictosewerconversionprojects
Needmajorwastewaterinfrastructure
upgrades,includingAWTfornutrientremoval

WaterKissimmeeRiver
Budget: Water Year 2016 * (May 2015-April 2016)

Action Item 2: Lake O

Inflowtothe
LakeOkeechobee
1.8MAcFt(96%)

Completion of Kissimmee
Restoration will provide
~130,000 ac-ft. of additional
storage
Active Dispersed Storage
program designed to hold
more water in the basinCaloosahatchee
Implementation of Lake
Okeechobee Watershed
Planning for Storage and
Treatment North of the Lake

TotheStLucie
460KAcFt(18%)

TotheCaloosahatchee
1MAcFt(42%)

StLucie

Lake
Okeechobee

EAA

WCA2A

WCA3A

*PreliminaryWY16data,ErnieBarnett

WCA1

TotheSouth
993KAcFt(40%)