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Bacteria could clean Manatee County's water supply

MANATEE, FLA. — A $20 million project in Manatee County will use bacteria to clean and eliminate smells from the region's drinking water system.

The Bradenton Herald ( ) reported on Sunday that ground breaking on the Lake Manatee water treatment plant is set for July.

The plan is for trillions of tiny bacteria to eat the stinky byproducts of blue green algae that give the growing county's water supply a musty, dirt-like smell. More than 350,000 people rely on the county's system for drinking water.

The bacteria are expected to do a better job than the carbon powder currently used to filter out the algae by products.

Bruce MacLeod, supervisor of the Lake Manatee reservoir treatment plant, said testing shows the bacteria-based system will work. Officials say the new system should pay for itself within 15 years by eliminating approximately $600,000 the county spends each year on carbon powder.