Project name:

Real-Time Faecal Coliform Water Quality Monitoring in Chicago, USA

Feedstock origin:

Water management


Total coliforms, E.coli or faecal coliforms are probably the most important water quality parameters there are for recreational water bodies such as rivers, lakes, water parks or marine bathing waters. However, the decision to allow such water bodies to be fit for recreational activities typically takes 24-72 hours -- when relying on traditional lab testing methods -- after the water sample has been taken. Delays even as short as 1-2 hours can be too late to prevent people from being subjected to unnecessary levels of pollution and, potentially, becoming ill as a result. With the increasing popularity of open-water swimming it will become even more important to monitor water resources as close to real time as possible. In an exciting new project, and the first ever in the USA, the Proteus is being used as an environmental guardian for all those people who want to use the Chicago River for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, kayaking, or commerce. It will allow users to simply load up a bookmarked website, check the real-time water quality and make a more informed decision about interacting with the waterway. Currently, monthly water samples tested by traditional lab methods are used to measure faecal coliform levels. With Proteus sensors, the public and local water authorities will now gain real-time, hourly data that will provide them with unprecedented insights into local water quality conditions.

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