City of Sarasota Using New Storm Water Runoff Treatment System to Help Fight Red Tide

City of Sarasota's climate adaption plan in final stage

SARASOTA (WWSB) -The City of Sarasota is doing its part to fight against pollution and potentially, red tide.

The city partnering with Sarasota County and The Southwest Florida Water Management District to install a new storm water runoff treatment system that could help prevent red tide blooms from growing.

The idea of this new system came about after the city dredged part of the 10th Street Boat Ramp for a project and found tons of silt and organic matter that wasn’t healthy for The Sarasota Bay. They then went ahead and built in this filtration system.

The City of Sarasota spent around 1.1 Million dollars on the new eighteen feet wide, twenty four feet long Baffle Box to capture and store debris.

“It is something that is really concrete that is keeping organic matter, nutrients, nitrogen, out of our bay by catching all of that before it leaks in there at 10th Street,” said the City of Sarasota Sustainability Manager, Stevie Freeman-Montes.

The water that gets released into the 10th Street Boat Ramp comes from all over the city.

"It carries water from about 325 acres of drainage area downtown. Over to Orange, down to Fruitville, everything comes this way and then comes up in the boat basin," said the project manager, Bill Nicholas.

City officials say staff will clean it every three months and dispose of the debris properly.

The box was cleaned for the first time since being installed in August and they found everything from leaves to plastic to tires.

"A lot of folks don't realize that those storm drains are going out to the bay without being filtered. So by catching this it's preventing that from harming wildlife," said Freeman-Montes.

And along with helping wildlife, the city hopes it will help prevent red tide blooms from growing.

"We know that nitrogen and phosphorous and nutrients prolong and worsen red tide events and so this is the city doing its part and trying to prevent those nutrients from getting into the water and worsening red tide," Freeman-Montes said.

City officials say that this device will be able to help remove almost 100,000 pounds of silt and debris each year that would normally end up in the bay.

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