Outboards Only opens back up for now; considers longer term solutions for algae

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 19:10:16-04

For Phil Norman, co-owner of Outboards Only, Wednesday provided a stark contrast from the previous weeks.

Thanks to an experimental clean up effort, the smell, and much of the algae, is gone from the marina next to his business.

“A week ago you could sit here and you would have to wear a respirator just to not have the smell,” Norman says. 

That's not the only reason why he is breathing easier tonight.

His shop is once again open for business.

“What else can I's good to be back at work,” employee Eric Bishop says.

Bishop says he's been out of work for a week now.

“I’ve got family I’ve got to support, and I can't come into work because we can't breathe,” he says.

Now they have plenty of work ahead.

“We’re so far behind now trying to catch up because we've been out of work,” Bishop says.

The question looming now - what happens when that work is finished - and algae continues to plague the Treasure Coast?

“I work on boats - if people aren't using their boats, they don't break their boats, I don't get to fix them,” Norman says. “Very simple.”

Also concerning - how to keep the algae out.

Ecosphere Technologies has been successfully using using an experimental technique to remove the algae from this water.

It’s a costly process the company provided at no cost as a test.

In addition, Norman’s put out a temporary boom to keep the algae out.

It’s working…for now.

“That's going to keep the surface algae from coming in, but whatever is suspend within the water column…that's going to eventually make it in here.”

He may then face a dilemma - the experimental clean up was free, but it won’t be next time.

“I can't afford to do anything that's really expensive,” he says. “I don't know what that is, I don't know what technology we're going to use - whether it be old school, new school, I don't know.”