The City of North Port: We’ve received a couple questions about the “foam” in some of our canals.
This natural foam can be found from time to time in waterways across Florida during rainy season. It may look weird, but it’s not pollution. We have a number of experts who monitor our waterways daily. During the rainy season, foam is frequently observed in the City’s Myakkahatchee Creek and canals. The tea colored water is typical of rainy season conditions and caused by decayed vegetation.
Also, the foam doesn’t reach our Water Treatment Plant because their intake pipe is submerged. All of our treated drinking water meets State & Federal drinking water quality standards.
Here’s a more detailed explanation:
Natural foam may occur in waterways with increased levels of surfactants. Surfactants are compounds which lower the surface tension of a liquid, the interfacial tension between two liquids or that between a liquid and a solid. In our creek and canals, surfactants that lower the liquid surface tension are naturally caused from decaying matter, fatty acids and plant oils that are washed into the waterways with the rain. When flow in the waterway increases with rainfall and becomes turbulent, such as drops at water control structure overflows, air is churned into the surfactant water and foam is produced. Natural foam is usually off-white or tan in color, has a somewhat earthy aroma and may float a long distance downstream.