Nutrient Monitoring System

Excess nutrients can appear seasonally, after an upwelling of nutrient-rich water, due to pollution from agricultural runoff as well as other avenues. Watersheds sometimes struggle handling increased nutrient loads and therefore succumb to events such as algal blooms, red tides, fish kills, and decreased productivity. Large rain events in tandem with over-application can increase transport to the proximal watershed.

In order to stay ahead of complications, a system for monitoring nutrients in real-time should be in place. UV nitrate sensors in tandem with NexSens data loggers can provide a turnkey monitoring system to better understand seasonal nutrient loads. Data is managed and shared via the WQData LIVE web datacenter.

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Case Studies


Lake Erie Tributary Monitoring

The western basin of Lake Erie gets a lot of attention thanks to its role in large algal blooms, but it is not the only part of the lake affected by nutrient runoff. And there are organizations all around Lake Erie that work to manage runoff going into different basins of the lake. One of those is the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which maintains multiple water quality monitoring stations along creeks and rivers that flow into Lake Erie’s waters near Cleveland. These waters cover mostly the lake’s central basin.

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Weir Installation Water Quality Effects

Because of its location in an agricultural watershed, a ditch in Minnesota’s Blue Earth County was retrofitted with a weir to help control discharges of excess nutrient and sediment loads. Curious to see what effects the new construction had on conditions downstream, researchers at Minnesota State University set out to investigate. They began with a set of baseline data gathered between the months of April and November in 2013. These touched on the stream’s temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen levels, which they found to be increasing in a correlated way significantly throughout the day.

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Florida Wetland Nutrient Transport

Officials at the South Florida Water Management District oversee many stormwater treatment areas as part of their mission to manage and protect water resources in southern Florida. Those include many constructed wetlands, some with aquatic vegetation and some without. Because the effects of aquatic vegetation on nutrient transport in wetlands are relatively unknown, scientists with the Management District set up monitoring equipment to learn more. Their investigation looks specifically at the role that wind plays in wetland nutrient transport, given the presence or absence of vegetation.

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