Machine uses ozone to kill red tide

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On a canal off Boca Grande, a machine called an Ozone Conductor will hopefully provide a bit of relief from red tide for residents on land and marine life in the water. 

"We are testing the system to see how we can restore the impacted systems back to the natural conditions," said Dr. Richard Pierce. 

Staff scientist and Associate Vice President for Research Dr. Richard Pierce installed the unit in an area overtaken by red tide. 

As water from the canal is pumped through the system, it's injected under high pressure with ozone. The red tide cells and toxins are destroyed and the water is pumped back into the canal. 

"It destroys organic matter... It re-oxygenates the water," Dr. Pierce explained. 

The unit was developed by researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, which patented the technology. 

Mote currently uses it to clean waters at it's Marine Mammal Hospital. This is the first time it's been tested in the field, where conditions are a lot different. 

"Ozone is used to purify water. We use it in our aquarium. It's used in swimming pools," said Dr. Pierce

He says the system could never be used to eliminate red tide in the gulf. It's too small for that and the gulf is too big. 

The idea is to provide pockets of relief for communities and marine life along the coast. 

"We don't know what is going to happen. This natural system is very different from a swimming pool that just has sea water in it this has a lot of vegetation a lot of silt in the bottom and we can't totally block it off from the rest of the canal," said Dr. Pierce.