News & Announcements

2024 Lake Erie Network Calibration Event Sheds Light on Benefit of Clean Water

Cleveland Water Alliance and CSU Calibration
The Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) and Cleveland State University are teaming up for the 2024 Lake Erie Sonde Network Cleveland Calibration event on April 17 in CSU’s MakerSpace (2121 Euclid Avenue), in which participants will be trained on how to properly clean and calibrate a multiparameter sonde.

A sonde is a self-contained submersible electronic device that collects data. Sondes have multiple sensors to look at things like pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and total algae, amongst other factors. In this case, the sensors are installed in buoys to collect data from a specific location on Lake Erie or other waterways such as inland lakes.

“On CSU's side, we have environmental scientists who utilize data from sondes in their research,” said Director of Research Development and Ethics, Ben Ward. “Brice Grunert (Assistant Professor, Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences at CSU) is working on tying data collected from satellite images to "ground truth" data from sondes and from samples drawn from the lake, specifically things like dissolved phosphorous which can contribute to algal blooms.”

According to Ward, the event is designed to inform those in attendance of water quality sensors to ensure they understand the operation and calibration of their sondes and can have confidence that the water quality data they are collecting is accurate. A secondary benefit is that CSU researchers will be involved with the event with the hope of increasing awareness of the research and talent (students) available at CSU.

“CSU has been working with CWA for a number of years, and our Center for Economic Development has performed economic impact studies for CWA. Meredith Bond (Vice President for Research and Innovation at CSU) has a seat on CWA’s board,” said Ward. "I am also on CWA’s program committee, which focuses on collaborative research grants, community engagement, and talent development. This is the second year CSU is serving as the host location for a sensor calibration event.”

Mehdi Rahmati is an Assistant Professor with Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He agrees about the importance of the collaboration efforts, and believes the workshop has the potential to facilitate a productive dialogue among all attendees.

“This dialogue can foster a deeper understanding of the needs and interests of the various stakeholders, researchers, scientists, small businesses operating in the environmental field and other attendees,” he said.

One part of Rahmati's research is how to manage the data flow from a range of sondes because different sensors collect data at different rates (some send a lot of data, some send a little) and most have to use very low powered antennas but cover a very large area. Thanks to the deep commitment to environmental issues, particularly those impacting the water resources, he believes strides are being taken towards closing in on a solution.

“CSU faculties demonstrate a deep commitment to environmental issues, and this path aligns perfectly with the College of Engineering's strategic plan, which prioritizes expanding research, education, and outreach on technologies related to water and its critical challenges,” he said. “This is much like the innovative work conducted by my research team at CSU. We leverage sensing technologies, data processing, communication, and computation – all crucial aspects of effective water quality monitoring and management in Lake Erie.”

Although great advances being made each day, there is still a lot to do which is why collaborations with external organizations are undoubtedly vital.

“Cleveland Water Alliance and LimnoTech are two important players in the field, and we should leverage this collaboration, and by working together, CSU can leverage its faculty expertise and cutting-edge research to develop innovative solutions for the environmental challenges facing Lake Erie and the surrounding region to protect and restore this vital resource,” he said.

“In my opinion, collaborations like this hold great promise for positive environmental impacts.”