The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) launched an extensive investigation to determine if periphyton could be used to further remove nutrients from water flowing into the Everglades. As a subcontractor to another environmental consultant, Water & Air analyzed more than 300 phytoplankton and periphyton samples collected during the pilot study from the Test Cell areas and the Periphyton-based Stormwater Treatment Area (PSTA) mesocosms. Additional samples were analyzed during field-scale testing and operation of full-scale PSTA basins (over 800 acres) adjacent to the C-111 and L-31N canals.
- Identified and enumerated algal taxa present in each sample.
- Determined algal biovolumes and percentage of each taxon in the samples.
- Measured chlorophyll a, b, and c and pheophytin levels as well as ash free dry weights.
- Calculated diversity indices and summary statistics.
This project successfully demonstrated the viability and effectiveness of using Periphyton-based Stormwater Treatment Areas to further remove nutrients from water flowing into the Everglades. Much larger treatment areas were constructed and are now successfully operating to help reduce total phosphorus levels below the criterion of 10 parts per billion and assist in the restoration of the Everglades.