Prof. Christopher Wellen
Impact of algae on our water systems
When excessive nutrients from any source – whether agricultural, urban, or wastewater – find their way into our waterways, problematic levels of algae can grow and make it hard or impossible to drink, swim, or fish there.
To measure nutrient levels with current monitoring techniques, people need to take water samples and ship them to a lab where expensive and time-consuming techniques are used to estimate nutrient levels. This makes it difficult to have any kind of proactive management of water quality in nutrient affected waters, such as Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.
Thanks to funding from the Southern Ontario Water Consortium's Advancing Water Technologies program, Professor Christopher Wellen is leading a project to develop a real-time sensor to measure multiple nutrient levels in water. The availability of such an instrument will support short-term forecasts of algal bloom severity and better enable proactive management of Great Lakes water quality.