The city of Toledo works with LimnoTech to maintain a scientific buoy and monitoring sensors in Lake Erie near the City’s drinking water intake to assist with gathering real-time environmental data and to monitor harmful algal blooms.

The city recognizes the potential impacts of harmful algal blooms and is concerned with the long-term protection of water users from the potential consequences of algal toxins in drinking water. To mitigate that concern, the city uses data gathered from the buoy and sensors to better understand and detect seasonal algal blooms. 

The buoy and sensors were first deployed in 2014 and continue to provide real-time data in ten-minute intervals to the city’s water managers, researchers, and the public. Observations from the buoy and sensors can be acquired through the Michigan Technological University Great Lakes Research Center's Upper Great Lakes Observing System website for the Toledo Water Intake Buoy. Here you can access data on a variety of different parameters including ambient air/weather conditions, surface water movements, and water quality data (temperature, conductivity, pH, oxidation reduction potential, total dissolved solids, turbidity, and total algae (blue-green algae and chlorophyll).  In addition to these surficial measurements, a sensor located 14 feet below the surface detects the same parameters plus dissolved oxygen. There is also a video camera mounted on the buoy that provides real time images and videos of water and weather conditions. Organizations such as news media outlets, the Coast Guard, charter boat operators, and recreational boaters can also utilize these observations.

In addition to the online database, the latest data from this station can also be obtained by texting 45165 to 734-418-7299. This monitoring effort drives progress towards the Source Water Initiative’s first goal of protecting sources of drinking water from nutrient impacts.