Monitoring, testing and managing water quality: 3 vital technologies

Water is one of the most important natural resources on earth, an essential element for all life, so maintaining its quality is crucial for the health of both humans and the environment. Many factors continuously threaten the quality of water, from pollution and climate change to extreme weather events. To ensure the well-being of humans and nature alike, we must use every tool in our repertoire to keep the water clean.

One threat of increasing concern is represented by Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs): due to increased nutrient availability, warming waters and lowered biodiversity, harmful algae can quickly multiply out of control, releasing toxic substances that can cut off communities from their traditional water sources and destroy entire ecosystems. Managing them is essential to maintaining aquatic biodiversity, ensuring water security, and protecting the livelihood of those depending on water bodies.

Algae prevention

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can pose a significant public health threat. Many of the cyanobacteria causing them also secrete toxic substances that humans, fish, waterfowl, and wildlife end up consuming, causing illness and even death. This has disastrous impacts on ecosystems, as well as on fishing and water-based tourism. Additionally, they require expensive mitigation efforts, placing a burden on governments and water operators.

The public rightly demands appropriate handling of HAB events. To do this, the authorities need timely notice, which helps minimize the impact and damage caused by these blooms. Enhanced lead time provides the opportunity to implement HAB emergency management plans at the lowest cost and highest efficiency. By preventing HABs before they occur, we can avoid costly and disruptive mitigation efforts, ensuring a safer and healthier environment for all. But traditional monitoring approaches can often be costly, time-consuming, and give mixed results.

At LG Sonic, as a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic algae control systems, we are always looking for ways to optimize our ultrasound delivery. This requires being the best at monitoring, testing, and managing water quality. By utilizing the latest technology and techniques, we are able to provide efficient algae prevention solutions. In this blog, we will focus on the three innovative technologies that we rely on to monitor water quality and fight HABs: Vertical Profiler, Phosphate Monitoring, and AI Prediction.

Vertical Profiler

A vertical profiler is an instrument that measures physical, chemical, and biological water quality parameters at different depths in a water column. They are useful for a wide range of water bodies, from ponds to oceans. By collecting data on temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and other parameters, vertical profilers provide a comprehensive picture of water quality over time. Vertical profiler is also able to measure water quality parameters in real-time, which is particularly useful for monitoring dynamic water systems such as rivers and estuaries.

One of the key advantages of vertical profilers is their ability to measure water quality at multiple depths, which allows our water scientists to study the stratification of water bodies and how water quality changes with depth. It can track seasonal processes, give insights into hypoxic and anoxic zones, and even help us understand the local effects of climate change. Moreover, some algal blooms occur at the bottom of water bodies (benthic blooms). Surface monitoring can only detect them when it is too late, but vertical profiling allows us to notice increases in phosphorus, dangerous chemicals, or biomass and develop early warning systems to ensure a preventive approach.

This technology has a variety of applications, including environmental monitoring, fisheries management, and water resource management. Through the integration with MPC-View, we can generate powerful year-by-year comparisons and help you make the best water management decisions.

Phosphate Monitoring

Phosphate, a key factor in aquatic life growth, can cause mayhem when it unexpectedly enters the ecosystem. Picture this: Heavy rains carry fertilizer from nearby farms to a local lake, depositing an abundance of phosphate. Who thrives? The organisms that can multiply the fastest, obviously. Before you know it, you’ve got yourself a cyanobacteria-fueled HAB. Monitoring phosphate levels is therefore vital in maintaining water quality.

One of the benefits of phosphate monitoring is that it allows for a tailored response to HABs. By determining whether nutrient loading is internal or external, it is possible to pinpoint the source of the problem and develop an appropriate response. For example, seasonal releases of orthophosphates from the lake’s sediments will require a different approach than runoff from a nearby cattle ranch.

Another benefit of phosphate monitoring is the reduction in time and expenses compared to traditional required field sampling. Our highly stable sensors, able to operate at wide temperature ranges, provide accurate and reliable data throughout the year. Lab-on-chip technology and durable reagents allow for sensors to operate autonomously, further increasing efficiency and reducing costs.

Overall, phosphate monitoring helps identify and tackle sources of nutrient pollution, enhances control of algae growth, and reduces reliance on traditional field sampling methods. This saves precious time and resources while offering constant, reliable data, giving us the best framework to develop and refine TMDLs (total maximum daily loads), BMPs (best management practices), and BMAPs (best management action plans).

AI Prediction

AI is revolutionizing the way we approach water quality monitoring and is already proving itself to be a vital tool in the prevention of HABs. By using the extensive MPC-View database, we can use AI to predict potential HABs by comparing live water conditions with previous blooms. Continuous monitoring allows us to update our models in real-time, keeping our water safe and clean.

To stay one step ahead of HABs, our AI technology provides a 10-14 day quantitative forecast window that enables us to tackle potential problems before they occur. The parameters used are chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin, and turbidity – key measures for HABs. By using MPC-View software, the AI model can be integrated with other tools to create a comprehensive and easy-to-use platform for water quality management.

Another important benefit of using AI is the ability to incorporate real-time meteorological data into our predictions. Weather Station add-ons provide essential information that helps refine and improve our models, increasing the accuracy of our forecasts. By combining our existing toolset with AI, we can work towards a cleaner and safer future for our water resources.

Ensuring clean and safe water resources is an essential responsibility that requires a comprehensive approach. Monitoring, testing, and managing water quality are all interconnected, and we are committed to being the best at every stage. By utilizing these cutting-edge solutions, you can stay ahead of the curve and prevent HABs before they occur, ensuring a healthier and safer environment for everyone.