Canada’s Niagara Region in the province of Ontario is home to a lot of people, and many of them use at least one of the 25 beaches there. That puts a lot of responsibility on Niagara Region Public Health to make sure the water is safe for them as well as for visitors who come to see the nearby Niagara Falls.
Central to making sure water quality is good for visitors to Niagara’s beaches is the ability to track weather and water changes in real time. Officials with the Region took steps to make this type of coverage possible by working through Hoskin Scientific, a partner of NexSens Technology in Canada, to secure monitoring equipment including buoys, water quality sondes and pressure transducers at three new locations in 2013.
New capabilities the technology provides are leaps ahead of past techniques used for beach monitoring and tracking water health, say officials with the Region. Figures on important water quality parameters are now available in mere moments instead of days following processing in a lab. This quick-measurement capability is helping keep beachgoers safe, as beach monitoring data are used to develop models based on wave and water measurements that predict elevated E. Coli levels. The expanded capability also ensures the Niagara Region meets water quality mandates issued by the Province of Ontario.
Buoys on the beach
Three NexSens Technology CB-series Data Buoys serve as platforms at each monitoring site. Each buoy is optimized for monitoring on inland lakes, including solar panels that power sensors, top-to-bottom ports to hold bottom-deployed equipment and instrument wells to securely support data loggers.
Inside each buoy is a NexSens Technology SDL (Submersible Data Logger) equipped with radio telemetry. The logger provides power and communicates with a YSI Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde on each buoy that collects data on the water’s temperature, conductivity, turbidity and total dissolved solids. Beneath each sonde is a Water Level Sensor that samples four times each second to calculate for wave height and period.
After the internal loggers collect what the sensors record, data are transmitted to shore via radio signals to Sutron telemetry stations that relay information to water quality managers with Niagara Region who plug it into E. Coli prediction models. Because data are logged every 15 minutes, Niagara Region has been able to eliminate gaps in understanding left by the old ways and they can now accurately see how indicators of water quality fluctuate from day to day.
The NexSens CB-450 Data Buoy is designed for deployment in lakes, rivers, coastal waters, harbors, estuaries and other freshwater or marine environments.
The X2-SDL Submersible Data Logger is a rugged, self-powered data logging system with optional cellular, satellite, or radio communications.
The YSI EXO represents the next generation of water quality instruments from YSI. The EXO2 sonde includes six sensor ports and a central anti-fouling wiper option.
Designed to resist the elements, the Seametrics PT12 delivers accurate pressure and temperature readings in rugged environments.