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5 min reading

5 November 2021

5 November 2021

A Must Use Technology for Water Quality Monitoring Solutions

A Must Use Technology for Water Quality Monitoring Solutions
Summary

Green Bay is in the northeastern part of Wisconsin at the mouth of the Fox River. Green Bay is also Wisconsin’s oldest settlement. The very first visitors to Greater Green Bay were successful entrepreneurs and some of the earlier settlers used the area’s waterways to grow the community’s prosperity. Blessed with an abundance of natural resources, Green Bay is part of the largest freshwater system in the world and is a heavily utilized water supply for a wide variety of purposes. The overall water quality is of great importance for not only the surrounding area but also the resident aquatic life. Because of this, UW-Green Bay is partnering with Cellcom to collect and share environmental data on the health of local waterways to reveal insights on the impact of low oxygen levels and water clarity to help protect the region’s freshwater ecosystem

The Challenge

Understanding dead zones created by low oxygen levels

The bay of Green Bay is relatively shallow — an average of just 30 feet —making it susceptible to oxygen deficiency, commonly referred to as dead zones. Fertilizer runoff from farms and cities carries excess nutrients to lakes and bays, which promotes the rapid growth of harmful algae blooms. The algae settle to the bottom and deplete the oxygen in the water as it decays. Dead zones have oxygen levels that are low enough to kill fish.

Using clarity as a measure of water quality

Water clarity is generally considered to be a measurement of how cloudy/clear/transparent the water can be in a lake, river or any other body of water. Poor water clarity can result in blocked, or reduced light to aquatic plants and other smothering aquatic organisms and if the water clarity is poor, the contents of the water will typically contain contaminants such as lead, mercury, and bacteria. In addition to reducing the number of fish, poor water clarity can lead to an overall health decline of aquatic species ranging across all levels of the aquatic food chain.

The Solution

To continuously monitor the water conditions in Green Bay and the Lower Fox River, UW-Green Bay researchers are deploying buoy platforms with integrated LoRaWAN sensors. The sensors will measure a variety of relevant water quality parameters, for example, temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, specific conductance, and pH. The buoys can be equipped with commercial sensors as well as low-cost DIY alternatives. Utilizing LoRaWAN for the research project is cost-effective, provides long-range coverage, and allows for immediate, continuous data, Researchers (faculty, staff, and students) will be able to study thermal stratification, hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen), algal blooms, and the effects of climate change in real time. The data collected by the buoys will be transmitted to nearby TEKTELIC KONA Mega Gateways, The KONA Mega Gateway is the ideal Gateway for rugged outdoor deployments and includes industry-leading interference mitigation design features to ensure the highest performance and
reliability. Cellcom is leveraging these Gateways to help researchers achieve the lowest total cost of ownership with carrier-grade performance and unprecedented scalability to then reuse this LoRaWAN infrastructure for future research projects or IoT deployments for other entities. The low power requirements associated with LoRaWAN are also advantageous, reducing the cost of onboard batteries and solar panel charging systems.

Conclusion

With real-time monitoring of relevant parameters, the data collected will be available to a wide audience of end users, along with the ability to integrate predictive models to forecast future conditions. Collectively, the data collected on the water conditions will then be used to manage, restore and protect the Green Bay region’s freshwater.

To learn more about the UW- Green Bay research projects please visit https://www.uwgb.edu/.

To learn more about Cellcom, a subsidiary of Nsight, please visit https://www.cellcom.com/.

To learn more about TEKTELIC’s complete End-to-End IoT solutions, please visit www.tektelic.com or contact info@tektelic.com.

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