Clean Sweep: South Florida inventor’s machines making a difference in detoxifying waterways

(WSVN) - After watching disastrous oil spills pollute our waters, a South Florida man built machines he believes can create a healthier environment. 7’s Kevin Ozebek looks at his plans for a “Clean Sweep” of our waterways.

Inside a small workshop in Fort Lauderdale is a room filled with inventions. They were all made by Eduardo Blanco.

Recently, he has been working on a long conveyor belt.

Eduardo Blanco: “This is the top, this is the bottom.”

It will soon be attached to his most important project yet: a large-scale version of this. It’s called a Clean, Recover, Restore Machine, or CRR.

Eduardo says it has already made a huge difference at a neighborhood lake in Fort Lauderdale.

Eduardo Blanco, inventor: “Debris, algae, everything. The people, the community is happy, happy because the fish does not die, and the clean water is nice.”

Eduardo came to South Florida from Cuba in 1995, with the dream of becoming an inventor. He came up with the idea of the CRR machine after seeing the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

It took him ten years to build two prototypes.

For one of the machines, Eduardo scoops up trash and debris from the lake bed and dumps it onto the conveyor belt. All of that moves to a holding tank at the bottom of the machine.

Excess water is separated from the trash, sent through a filter and poured back into the lake.

The second machine uses more filters to separate oil, algae and other toxins from water.

Ivette Guiroz, business partner: “Take out the plastic, take out the toxins, take out all the bacteria, the algae, the red tide, get it out of the water, so the water can be pure.”

Business partner Ivette Guiroz says she and Eduardo spent years taking the CRR Machines to expos across Florida.

It paid off. They were hired last year to clean up a lake in Fort Lauderdale.

Ivette Guiroz: “How pure you can see down below now. Before, you couldn’t see anything.”

Eduardo’s machines operate on solar-wind technology, so there are no exhaust fumes. He has to stand on his canoe and guide the machine across the water.

It’s labor intensive, but big improvements and more machines are coming.

Dave Doebler, VolunteerCleanup.org: “I love the innovation that’s happening.”

Dave Doebler has spent years picking up trash the old school way — with his hands. His organization, VolunteerCleanup.org, has removed 350,000 pounds of waste from South Florida waterways.

Dave says keeping the water clean is becoming an impossible task, and it is crucial for people like Eduardo to come up with new ways to do the job.

Dave Doebler: “Our canals are clogged with trash and debris, and pesticides and herbicides, and fertilizers. We’re always going to need to have innovation and technology to get us through the problems that we create.”

As for the trash Eduardo and Ivette collect from this lake…

Ivette Guiroz: “The algae bloom can be used as propane for the future. The oil can be used, recycled, again, and the plastic is recyclable as it is already.”

After several hours of working, the team heads back to the shop, but there is no rest for Eduardo. He spends the rest of the day working on his next generation CRR machine.

Eduardo Blanco: “This machine is to the future, is the solution.”

He hopes to make a clean sweep in more lakes, rivers and canals all across South Florida.

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