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Everglades Foundation offers $10 million for solution to algae problem

Teams competing to create effective, affordable solution

A $10 million competition may be the key to cleaning up the country's water and stopping the spread of algae bloom.

In 2016, the Everglades Foundation launched a search for the most innovative minds to develop cost effective technology to remove phosphorous from water. The winners would receive $10 million.

[READ: Blue-green algae: An explainer on the sludge blanketing Lake Okeechobee]

The competition started with 109 teams, it's now down to nine, and soon it will be cut to the final four. Those four finalist teams will move to Central Florida for 14 months to test, scale and produce their product with the expectation that it could be used worldwide to combat the algae bloom problem.

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"If we have that breakthrough, that technological breakthrough that makes this cost effective, this is a game changer," CEO Erick Eickenberg said. "It's going to have to produce a water quality standard that meets a criteria that cleans up Lake Jessup, cleans up Lake Okeechobee, cleans up Lake Erie and water bodies all across the nation."

[RELATED: These are the local groups fighting to clean up Florida's waterways]

In preparation for the last phase, the state of Florida partnered with the foundation, offering $1 million to help fund the project. The final four will advance in October. The project is expected to be finished in 2020.