[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. Photo courtesy of Ed Verhamme, Limnotech]
The network of buoys in Lake Erie – some from NOAA, some from LimnoTech 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.
[Cleveland skyline and Cleveland Water Intake Crib. Daily, about 165 million gallons of water leaves Lake Erie through the crib to the pump station, where the water will begin treatment before it flows to other water facilities. Photo Credit: Ed Verhamme, Limnotech.]
An inter-agency team of public and private sector partners, working with the Cleveland Water Department, are addressing drinking water safety for oxygen depleted waters (hypoxia). By leveraging NOAA’s operational National Weather Service and National Ocean Service forecast models and remote sensing for the Great Lakes, NOAA’s latest experimental forecast models developed by its Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory can predict when water affected by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia may be in the vicinity of drinking water intake pipes. Advance notice of these conditions allows water managers to change their treatment strategies to ensure the health and safety of drinking water.
[Retrospective animation of the Experimental Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecasts from the 2018 season, showing the predicted change in bottom temperature and dissolved oxygen.]