New buoy will help monitor water quality in the Detroit River

Posted at 8:07 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 08:07:07-05

(WXYZ) — The Great Lakes Water Authority and several other partners are now monitoring the water quality of the Detroit River through a new buoy.

The buoy is equipped with a camera that provides 20-second clips every 10 minutes and can serve as an early warning for changing water quality. It was deployed on the Canadian side of the river and monitors oxygen reduction potential, conductivity, temperature, pH levels, total algae and more.

Due to climate change and the warming of the Great Lakes, Michigan is experiencing more harmful algae blooms every year and increasing rain, which results in increased runoff and sewer discharge.

There is not a cause for concern about algae blooms in the Detroit River currently, but the GLWA wanted to proactively monitor the river and gather data.

The GLWA is working with LimnoTech and the University of Windsor on the project.

“Working with our partners to collect this data is critical for monitoring and assessing source water quality and proactive management before any issue is detected,” said Dr. John Norton, Jr., the director of energy, research and innovation at the GLWA. “This work exemplifies the regional collaboration envisioned when GLWA was founded and is a great example of how our innovative approach can use new technology to improve operational performance and provide value to our member partners.”

If any changes occur in the water quality, the GLWA team is equipped to address it quickly and at 1.6 miles before the water will reach the authority's intake, which should help address any issues as they arise.

“Our interest in the GLWA buoy stems from our work with water utilities on the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair where we are monitoring algae blooms to help ensure the safety of drinking water,” said Mike McKay, Executive Director and Professor, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER), University of Windsor. “While algae blooms in the Detroit River are not currently a concern, the proactive steps being taken will provide GLWA with increased monitoring for preparedness.”