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Brevard County Project Proves Gator Aquatic Technologies New Treatment Process

Gator Aquatic Technologies launched the company and the H2Optomizer, a soluble nutrient and contaminant removal process, which is combined with liquid solids separation in one phase.

Gator Aquatic Technologies launched the company and the H2Optomizer, a soluble nutrient and contaminant removal process, which is combined with liquid solids separation in one phase.

In January 2016, Gator Aquatic Technologies launched as a new company, armed with numerous projects and demand for its new technology that combines liquid solids separation with soluble nutrient and contaminant removal in a single phase. The technology is at work on a project in Brevard County, Florida, in the Indian River Lagoon, removing phosphorus and nitrogen from the contaminated sediment and water along the waterway.

Mike Chancey, president, Gator Aquatic Technologies, and his partner, Jacob Little, vice president; began the business after discovering a chemical process that worked for removing soluble contaminants as a standalone process or while also performing liquid solids separation. Tests on the effectiveness and costs of the treatment showed some amazing results. Where traditional, liquid solids separation, treats solids with a polymer to remove them from the water, in order to further treat the water, the H2Optimizer® system from Gator Aquatic Technologies removes the soluble nutrients and contaminants in the water, capturing the contaminants and binding them with the sediment in one phase.

The patent-pending process is using aquatically safe chemicals, which have undergone numerous toxicity testings to prove their safe use to remove phosphorus and nitrogen from 235,000 cubic yards of sediment in the Indian River Lagoon, as part of a larger Brevard County project, funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The new treatment process is at work on a project in Brevard County, Florida, in the Indian River Lagoon, where Gator Dredging is working to remove muck from the waterway, part of a larger funded project by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Here, the excavator is relocating the dredge’s 500-pound swing anchors.

The fertilizer from local orange and citrus groves, combined with municipal dumping, has challenged the Indian River Lagoon, a 110-mile stretch of inland waterway on the central East Coast of Florida. The nutrient loading often results in algae blooms and recently a large fish-kill. The unique waterway also has few outlets that go out to the Atlantic Ocean, furthering the problem and the waterway’s ability to recycle freshwater through the lagoon. Initial testing on the Indian River Lagoon water found levels of soluble phosphorus as high as 10 ppm. 

In April, Florida DEP dedicated another $800,000 in funding to combat the problem by continuing to dredge the waterway. The Brevard County Muck Dredging Projects have previously received $20 million from the state over the past two years for work in the Indian River Lagoon. The new funding will work to remove the most muck-laden sediments of the lagoon, as well as map and prioritize other loads in critical areas in the waterway.

Gator Dredging is performing the dredging work; and having worked with Gator Aquatic Technologies on a separate pilot project, the dredging contractor knew the new system would be key for the Turkey Creek project at Palm Bay, Florida. Gator Aquatic Technologies joined the project early in 2016.  Gator Dredging is removing 235,000 cubic yards of sediment with the Jessie Marie, an Ellicott 670 dredge.

Using the energy already put into the trans-port of the slurry from the dredge, the H2Optimizer system doses the slurry directly in the pipeline with a patent-pending injection method. The system is continuously monitored and adjusted to achieve the correct stoichiometry, or sequence of chemicals added at different dosage rates, in order cause the nitrogen and phosphorus in the water to become a solid. Then, an-other chemical prevents it from going back to soluble form, even at a neutral pH.  The nitro-gen and phosphorus then attach to the solids in the slurry. The sediment is pumped to a Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA), which is owned by the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), located approximately two miles to the north of the dredge area.

To work on the Brevard County project, Ga-tor Aquatic Technologies had to agree to strict performance guarantees in the contract, limiting the total phosphorus levels to < 75 parts per billion in the return water. The system achieved this mandate and assisted in removing 41,000 pounds of phosphorus and 116,000 pounds of nitrogen over a three-week period. The con-tract did not have a performance guarantee for nitrogen, but the process removed more than 92 percent of nitrogen as well.

The modular system is housed on-site in a mobile trailer, and Chancey said it is very cost effective compared to alternatives. To achieve this and minimize additional infrastructure needs, the system uses the energy already in the slurry pumping from the dredge to treat in the same pipeline.

“We’ve taken the conventional, liquid solids separation process and combined it with the ability to remove soluble nutrients and contaminants in the water all in one phase to levels not previously achieved. This also eliminates the additional costs and infrastructure necessary when processing the water separately,” Chancey said.

He sees a broad application for this process, particularly in nutrient-laden waterways like the Great Lakes. The process has also been used in other dredging applications and industries – re-moving arsenic and other heavy metals to non-detectable levels from coal ash ponds, and at other industrial plants.

The dredging project at Turkey Creek is 70 percent complete, and temporarily suspended during the manatee exclusion period. Dredging is slated to begin again on July 15.

For more information on Gator Aquatic Technologies, visit www.gatorquatictech.com or contact them at 863-224-7096. The new office and testing facility is located in Mulberry, Florida at 765 Prairie Industrial Parkway. 

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