Buoys with webcams deployed in Lake Erie to help monitor water

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CLEVELAND – Crews deployed two buoys in Lake Erie Thursday to track weather and water conditions, helping monitor the water that more than one million citizens use.

The information provided by the buoys can be useful to boaters, the Cleveland Division of Water and the federal government to help inform weather predictions and marine hazard warnings.

“These buoys are scientific platforms that are measuring atmospheric conditions, water conditions, water quality conditions,” said Ed Verhamme, Project Engineer for LimnoTech, an environmental consultant company that places and operates a dozen buoys on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.

The buoys record wind speeds, water and air temperatures, wave height and more, in real time.

“These buoys help us identify changes, so we know how to change our treatment,” said Scott Moegling, Water Quality Manager for the Cleveland Division of Water.

One buoy was placed Thursday near the five-mile crib water intake, in 50-feet deep water about four miles from shore. Crews hooked the buoy to a 100-foot chain that is tethered to a one-thousand-pound anchor in the lake bottom.

The City of Cleveland is funding that buoy and another that is set to be placed at a later date, at a cost of about $50,000 per year.

“These buoys will provide water quality information like PH, temperature, algae, blue green algae,” Moegling said. “And that helps us identify any treatment changes that are needed at any of our four treatment plants.”

Another buoy, equipped with a high definition web camera, was placed eight miles from shore at the site of the proposed Icebreaker Wind turbine project.

“We’re able to collect data right at our site about the historical wave and wind conditions,” said Dave Karpinski, Vice President of Operations for the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation.

LEEDCo still needs state approval to begin construction on six 500-foot tall turbines that would generate electricity to power about 7,000 homes.

“This becomes a great source of renewable energy and creates a new industry to create jobs and economic impact,” Karpinski said.

Information from the buoys is available online here and by texting 45169, for the LEEDCo buoy, or 45176, for the Cleveland Water buoy, to (866) 218-9973.

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