Straight from the Tap

2017 Recap: Monitoring Water Quality with New Technology


Buoy on Lake Erie

As we do every year, Cleveland Water continued to deliver safe, quality water to our customers in 2017. As outlined in our 2016 Water Quality Report, released in May of 2017, we consistently met and exceeded state and federal standards for water quality.

Lake Health

A healthy Lake Erie is critical to Cleveland Water. A healthy lake means that our treatment process is easier and more consistent, which helps keep treatment costs down.

This year, we used two of the Great Lakes Observing System’s buoys to monitor water quality. One is positioned near our intake crib and another 15 miles off-shore. They monitor numerous physical and chemical characteristics of the water from spring through mid-November. This data is sent in real-time to a publicly accessible web-based portal. By providing the data in real time, these state-of-the-art water quality detection units provide us with advanced warning of changes to the lake, giving us adequate time to make any necessary treatment adjustment.

One way the buoys have benefitted Cleveland Water is by providing an advanced tool to monitor and track algal blooms. Fortunately, Cleveland Water had no harmful algal blooms to address in 2017. In fact, the toxins released by algal blooms have never been detected in our raw water, even during peak bloom season. We’ll continue to use the buoys, as well as other methods and equipment, to proactively monitor any potential issues that may affect Lake Erie in the future.

Treatment Plants

After upgrading all four of our treatment plants in past few years, Cleveland Water spent 2017 upgrading and maintaining the equipment we invested in. All four treatment plants had new advanced water quality monitoring platforms installed into their intake streams. Much like the buoy, these new devices inform the treatment facilities of changes in various chemical and physical conditions of the water brought into each plant.

Cleveland Water continued to participate in the Partnership for Safe Water, a voluntary program to maintain higher water quality standards. In 2015, our Crown treatment plant in Westlake received a Phase IV award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). This award represents the highest possible level of performance that can be achieved in Partnership for Safe Water program. In 2017, we continued to optimize our treatment process and perform daily monitoring in order to maintain this prestigious status.