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‘Smart’ buoys and NOAA models are helping this city prevent a drinking water crisis

UPDATED: March 5, 2019. The number of area residents served by Cleveland's water utility was updated in the first sentence.
March 4, 2019
A buoy near the Cleveland Water intake — approximately 3.5 miles off the Cleveland shoreline — gives researchers at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory the ability to incorporate water temperature, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other parameters into their Experimental Hypoxia Forecast model. Model results are helping water treatment managers anticipate and respond to changes in lake water quality.

A new generation of high-tech buoys and new NOAA modelsoffsite link are working together to keep the water safe to drink for more than 1.5 million Cleveland Water customers.

The network of buoys in Lake Erie – some from NOAA, some from LimnoTechoffsite link and other private companies – are measuring vital criteria such as dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction that when input into experimental NOAA models, alert NOAA scientists when water with low-oxygen levels and/or harmful algae moves close enough to the Cleveland water intake systems to contaminate the drinking water.

Watch this video (below) produced by our partner, Ocean Conservancy, to see how Cleveland is using the latest science to prevent the next drinking water crisis.

Video story: "Smart Buoys: Preventing a Great Lakes Drinking Water Crisis.
Video story: "Smart Buoys: Preventing a Great Lakes Drinking Water Crisis." (Courtesy of Ocean Conservancy )