NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


Martin County water farm taking in toxic algae

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 19:26:50-04

With the click of a button 151 million gallons of water is captured from the C-44 Canal and pushed into Caulkins Water Farm.

"We just suck the algae right off the top. We can pump a 105,000 gallons a minute,"  Tom Kenney said. 

For a couple of decades, Kenney has worked as the general manager for Caulkins Citrus Company. His partner Ronnie Hataway says he remembers a time when the land was filled with orange groves.

"I thought the citrus would last forever," he said.

But times got tough.

"We went through a couple hurricanes, we went through a freeze and then the greening came along," Kenney said.

Now the 3,000-acre farm serves a different purpose. Kenney says when the citrus farm closed they needed a new way to make money. 

Now he says they're the only privately owned water farm in the area after striking a $5.5 million contract from South Florida Water Management District and he says the vegetation on the farm is breaking down blue-green algae. A result he's proud to see. 

"We're just happy to do what we know how to do and that turns a pump on and put the water in a reservoir," he said.

Kenney said there's no room to expand their water farm, but he said more water farms could be a good option to fight blue-green algae.