During early summer and fall of 2019, RAEON deployed three real-time buoys equipped to measure weather and water-quality parameters, including dissolved oxygen, in Lake Erie near Pelee Island. These buoys will collect data that will predict the location and movement of oxygen-depleted, or hypoxic, water in Lake Erie, a source of drinking water for millions of people in northwest Ohio. Hypoxic waters often occur during summer in the bottom waters of the lake and can affect the taste and quality of drinking water. Drinking water treatment plants, however, can adjust their process to avoid these issues when source waters become hypoxic.
The dissolved oxygen forecast model will give advanced warning of events that are likely to cause changes in water quality. Drinking water managers can then use this real-time information to make adjustments in treatment to avoid taste, odor, and discoloration issues. In the long-term, this data will provide increased understanding of complex lake dynamics that control the development and movement of hypoxic lake bottom water.
Led by Dr. Mark Rowe at the University of Michigan’s Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) and Dr. Craig Stow of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), this five-year project is collaboration with the City of Cleveland Division of Water, Purdue University, and U.S. Geological Survey, with guidance from a management advisory group including representatives from Ohio public water systems, Ohio EPA, Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS), and NOAA.