Straight from the Tap

Cleveland Water Monitors Lake Erie with Two Innovative Buoys


Buoy on Lake Erie

Keeping our water safe is Cleveland Water’s top priority and one way we do this is by staying on top of challenges Lake Erie throws our way. Two of the biggest challenges we face in the summer months are potential Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and their related toxins, and hypoxic water (also known as Dead Zone water). Cleveland Water’s two-year contract with the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) will provide real-time data and allow proactive forecasting to improve safety, enhance our economy, and safeguard the health of Cleveland and the 80 suburban communities we serve.

With these two buoys, Cleveland Water will enhance its monitoring capabilities to provide advanced warning of changing water quality conditions on Lake Erie. Attached to each buoy is a sonde, which is electronic monitoring equipment, designed to be submerged in the water at any depth. By providing the data in real time, these state-of-the-art water quality detection units give us advanced warning so there is adequate time to make any necessary treatment adjustment. This frontline information-gathering tool features high tech innovative monitoring gear and cell phone equipment that uploads information to the internet, allowing other water systems on Lake Erie to also see our information for their needs, just as we see theirs in a cooperative data sharing arrangement that provides a more complete view of water quality conditions on Lake Erie.

The GLOS buoy-mounted monitoring equipment is very reliable. “They have been used for several years on Lake Erie and Cleveland Water has one sonde that has been in use for the past 18 months at the Baldwin Water Treatment Plant’s raw water pump building at Kirtland. We have two additional sondes on site that are permanent, year-round installations at the Crown and Nottingham Water Treatment Plants’ raw water shore shafts to do the same type of work,” said Scott Moegling, Cleveland Water’s Water Quality Manager.

“We are concerned with algal blooms every summer and early fall. In addition to possible toxins, algae can also cause nuisance taste and odor problems in the drinking water. We have two buoys,” said Scott, “one near the Morgan Water Treatment Plant intake, the other, 15 miles out from shore, monitoring for the development and movement of Dead Zone water. Most other Lake Erie water treatment plants in Ohio have some type of sonde, either in the Lake or at their raw water shore shafts or entrance into the plant, to ensure data is available to help provide quality water for all.”