Even before the Toledo Water Crisis, researchers at Stone Lab were concerned with the algae blooming in Lake Erie. With their location on the lake’s Gibraltar Island, it was easy for them to see the tides whipping up green stuff each day in the summer months.
So long before the crisis, which took place in August 2014, scientists at the Ohio State University lab began working with engineers at NexSens Technology to devise a monitoring solution that would fit their needs. In addition, the platform would need to be versatile enough to meet the lab’s mission of education, research and outreach.
Finding the right fit
Stone Lab researchers eventually selected a NexSens CB-800 (now the CB-650) data buoy with an integrated cellular data logger, solar panels and rechargeable batteries. The platform was donated by Fondriest Environmental, NexSens’ exclusive distributor, and met their requirements for such a monitoring asset that would provide students and researchers with important algae data while also being highly visible to those boating by or visiting the lab.
Along with the platform, Ohio State scientists worked with NexSens Technology to obtain equipment including sensors for weather and water quality as well as web datacenter services.
Real-time monitoring of Lake Erie’s western basin
The Stone Lab buoy system is centered on a NexSens CB-800 Data Buoy that is an ideal platform for standing up to wave action in Lake Erie’s western basin. Deployed just off the shore of Gibraltar Island, the buoy supports three 10-watt solar panels, a rechargeable battery pack and internal data logger.
On top of the platform is a solar marine light to alert boaters of its location, as well as a Lufft WS600 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor. This tracks air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity and precipitation.
Beneath the water, mounted securely in a deployment pipe, is a YSI EXO2 Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde. It measures a number of Lake Erie dynamics, including temperature, conductivity, depth, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and total algae. Nearby on a buoy cage are two NexSens T-Node FR Thermistors. One gauges temperature near the surface while the other measures conditions 1 meter below the surface.
All sensor data are recorded by the NexSens SDL500C submersible cellular data logger inside the buoy. Equipped with remote telemetry, this logger transmits all of the measurements back to researchers at Ohio State University who view them in real time through the cloud-based NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter. Data are also published to the Stone Lab website for public access.
The NexSens CB-650 Data Buoy is designed for deployment in lakes, rivers, coastal waters, harbors, estuaries and other freshwater or marine environments.
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.
The Lufft WS600 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor simultaneously measures air temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation & wind with an integrated electronic compass for corrected wind direction on moving platforms.
The NexSens T-Node FR thermistor string provides high precision temperature measurement in an addressable and connectorized assembly.
WQData LIVE is a web-based project management service that allows users 24/7 instant access to data collected from remote telemetry systems.