Watch CBS News

Planting soil anyone? Fort Lauderdale repurposes truckloads of seaweed

Crews in Fort Lauderdale turning truckloads of seaweed into planting soil
Crews in Fort Lauderdale turning truckloads of seaweed into planting soil 03:57

MIAMI - It's all over the place. Sargassum seaweed blowing ashore from the ocean.  

CBS4's drone video shows just how widespread it is on the sand it also shows large clumps floating in the water. 

"That's nasty.  It's not fun at all," said Annabella Fernandez who was trying to enjoy the beach. 

Fernandez doesn't like walking in it and it's even worse when she's in the water. "I have a fear of fish and stuff in the water and when you're in the water and there's a bunch of seaweed you get a little jump scared," she said.

Crews in Fort Lauderdale are out daily scooping it up. They take truckloads of it to Snyder Park where the city is able to repurpose it. 

"How many truckloads do you get a day," CBS 4's Ted Scouten asked Superintendent of Parks Mark Almy. 

"On an average day, if it's just a very calm day, we'd get one to three. Lately, we've been getting up to 10 and 12 because the seaweed is so heavy and so high right now," Almy said.

There are piles of it here and Almy welcomes it all. Here is where that seaweed is converted to dirt. 

"We just wait for it to rot and by the time it just decomposes it has very little smell.  Once it does start to decompose you can see that that process has begun and it becomes dirt," he said. 

The fresh seaweed is mixed in with older seaweed and dirt — then sits on a pile for about 4 months.  It goes from being a nuisance to helpful.

"This is the finished product with the composted seaweed this is what it becomes, good black dirt," Almy said as he scooped up a handful. 

That dirt gets used for landscaping Fort Lauderdale streets — and it's free to the public to pick up and use at home.  "It's the best dirt to use for planting. It's very natural, nothing has been processed with respect to chemicals added.  It already has a sand amendment that keeps it fluffy for roots to go through it," he said. 

That dirt is available for free pick up by the public at Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale. It's located at 3299 SW 4th Ave. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.