Surface Water

Water Quality Monitoring and Sampling

Surface Water Quality Monitoring: Protecting Our Most Precious Resource

Surface water is a vital resource that supplies water to millions of people around the world. However, with the increase in pollution and harmful environmental toxins daily, it is more important now than ever to protect and monitor our water resources. That is why our team at LakeTech has developed a system utilizing multiparameter surface water quality monitoring instrumentation, which allows for the concurrent measurement of critical parameters necessary to understand, protect, and improve aquatic habitats.

What is Surface Water?

Surface water refers to all types of water bodies such as lakes, rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and reservoirs. These water bodies are threatened daily from contaminants, sediment plumes, anoxic conditions, and harmful algal blooms. As a result, it is crucial to implement monitoring efforts to protect our water resources from these threats.

Measurement Methods

Our multiparameter instruments allow for concurrent measurement of key parameters that include dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity, turbidity, chlorophyll-a, and more. These parameters are critical to understanding, protecting, and improving aquatic habitats. We offer both baseline sampling efforts and continuous monitoring systems capable of recording high temporal resolution data, detecting events that may impact water quality, such as pollution incidents.

Spot Sampling vs Continuous Monitoring

In-situ monitoring starts with our handheld sensors. Our system has become a mainstay of water quality monitoring fieldwork, enabling efficient and timely water quality testing. These industry-leading instruments open up opportunities for water quality measurements to a broader world of scientists and environmental managers.

Newer monitoring methods have started to emerge such as sondes. Sondes push in-situ water quality monitoring to new heights, by protecting a suite of sensors in a sleek, ruggedized body and channeling the data into onboard memory, sondes open the door to long-term unattended monitoring — constant monitoring that allows scientists to observe midnight activity and chart diurnal cycles. With the ability to monitor remote locations constantly, for long periods, without the need for an operator on-site, sondes are revolutionizing water quality monitoring.

Spot Sampling

Spot sampling surface water or lake water quality provides a snapshot of conditions at one location and moment in time, which may not represent the overall water quality due to spatial and temporal variability. Factors such as differing depths, water flow, temperature, biological activity, and weather events can significantly influence water quality, making comprehensive sampling and repeated measures crucial for accurate data.

Continuous Monitoring

Continuous monitoring of water quality provides a more comprehensive, dynamic representation of conditions as it captures changes over time and in response to various environmental factors, such as rainfall, temperature, and seasonal biological activity. It allows for the detection of transient events, like pollutant spills or algal blooms, that could be missed with spot sampling, thereby improving our understanding of water health, informing management decisions, and enhancing the ability to protect aquatic ecosystems.

Water Quality Monitoring Equipment

Water quality instrumentation has evolved to produce higher accuracy data and repeatable measurements while requiring less maintenance. From photometers and colorimeters to electrochemical sensors to digital smart sensors and data sondes, LakeTech offers a wide range of options for those looking to spot sample and track long-term changes in water quality.

Multiparameter Sondes

Continuous monitoring plays a crucial role in surface water management. It helps establish baseline parameters, track trends, and identify changes in water quality caused by weather patterns and storm events. This is essential for communities, agriculture, and ecosystems. Reliable, low-maintenance instrumentation, telemetry, and intuitive software allow for cost-effective monitoring of multiple parameters like temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. LakeTech software platform enables network-wide visibility, instant alerts, and easy data transfer. Choosing continuous monitoring for surface water is a wise decision that empowers informed decision-making and early identification of potential issues.

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Monitoring Buoy Stations

Buoy stations are an excellent option for monitoring multiple parameters in aquatic environments. They can be used in coastal waters, estuaries, lakes, and rivers and offer continuous real-time measurements. Buoy stations provide accurate data on a range of parameters, such as temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, which can be crucial for the understanding of aquatic ecosystems and informing decision-making.  Buoy stations can operate remotely for extended periods, and sophisticated sensors minimize the need for maintenance. Integration with remote telemetry systems and data visualisation platforms like LakeTech creates accessible insights and allows for continuous monitoring of multiple parameters over time. In conclusion, buoy stations are a highly effective tool to monitor multiple parameters in aquatic environments and provide crucial data to inform decisions and protect aquatic ecosystems.

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Water Quality Parameters

Key water quality parameters include chemical, physical, and biological properties that are critical to understanding and improving the quality of aquatic environments. Parameters frequently monitored for water quality include temperature, dissolved oxygen, depth, pH, conductivity, ORP, and turbidity. Advanced water monitoring programs may also collect data on algae blooms, dissolved organic material, PAR, ISEs such as ammonia, nitrate, and chloride. Sensors that detect rhodamine dyes can even track water movement.

Surface Water Applications

Surface water monitoring is essential to understand how the quality of water changes. Sampling and monitoring efforts provide baselines, reference numbers, quantitative goals, and compliance data. These data come from treatment plants to farm edges to midstream gauges. YSI products have helped a wide range of researchers, consultants, and engineers improve the quality of our world's most precious resource.

Dashboard & Platform Examples

Check out some example dashboards

Build widgets to get a real-time visualization of the health of your lake.

Create your sampling nodes and tie real-time sensors to them. You can also create maintenance nodes for equipment repairs.