Part 1 of this four-part blog addressed air quality monitoring in cities and populated areas. Less densely populated areas such as a rain forest may require different approaches. In addition, water quality monitoring in outdoor locations as well as clean drinking water from processing stations provide additional sensing opportunities. Part 2 will address these areas.
Rain forest sensing
Rainforest Connection (RFCx) in partnership with Infineon Technologies has a goal of monitoring the vulnerable regions of the earth with modern sensor technology. Initially, Rainforest Connection’s Guardian devices transmitted audio data, live sound recordings from rainforests and artificial intelligence analyzed the data, detecting sounds of threats. For example, when the sound of chainsaws is detected, rangers are alerted and directed to the location to protect the world’s remaining forests from being illegally logged. Also, audio sensing can monitor biodiversity, such as the presence of primates, birds, frogs, insects and bats. The data is useful for scientific research and informing analysts of the conservation impact on the ground.
Adding semiconductor-based sensor inputs from temperature, humidity, ozone and now MEMS-based CO2 data from Infineon to their biodiversity analysis will provide greater insight into forest health and help identify areas that need to be protected.
Monitoring water quality in natural areas
A variety of physical, chemical, and biological factors affect the quality of water in ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans, as well as groundwater. In one report, seven ways have been identified to measure, monitor and evaluate water quality. These include:
- Monitoring colored or chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) that occurs naturally in water bodies
- Analyzing chlorophyll fluorescence
- Monitoring conductivity, salinity, and total dissolved solids (TDS)
- Recording water temperature
- Measuring the dissolved oxygen levels
- Testing for potential hydrogen (pH) and carbonate hardness (KH)
- Assessing the turbidity, total suspended solids (TSS) and clarity
Different types of sensors are available to accomplish these tests. For example, CDOM, the naturally occurring dissolved matter that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light in water, usually consists of tannins that are released from the breakdown of plant material. The fraction of CDOM that fluoresces when it absorbs light of a certain spectrum is called fluorescent dissolved organic matter, or FDOM. CDOM/FDOM monitoring can be accomplished by a fixed response fluorometer that provides excitation at 365 nm (UV level). This type of sensor detects any resultant fluorescence between 450 nm and 520 nm. The fluorescence measurements are useful for analyzing emerging contaminants.
Groundwater and well contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina occurred from the 1950s through February 1985. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), based in Atlanta, Georgia, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has weighed in on the nature and impact of the contamination. Their experts found trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants in the drinking water at the camp. Furthermore, they feel this likely increased the risk of cancers (kidney, multiple myeloma, leukemias, and others), adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects on residents (including infants and children), civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at Camp Lejeune. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 1982 that the Marine Corps tested the drinking water at Camp Lejeune and discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by two of the eight water treatment plants (supplied by wells and groundwater) on base.
Protecting the rainforest with modern technology: Infineon Technologies and Rainforest Connection use sensor technology to protect vulnerable regions – Infineon Technologies
🎈 Public Lab: 7 Ways to Measure, Monitor, and Evaluate Water Quality