Edgewater Beach real-time sensors monitor storm-driven bacteria

Edgewater Beach Real-Time Bacteria Study


Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District


Cleveland, OH

Real-Time Sensors Monitor Storm-Driven Bacteria to Aid in Predictive Modeling and Better Protect Public Health

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) and Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) partnered with OHM Advisors on a study at Edgewater Beach to explore the performance of optical sensors for real-time, continuous bacteria monitoring at Great Lakes beaches. Since beaches are highly dynamic environments subject to rapid changes in water quality from storm-driven pollutants and shifts in wind patterns or currents, NEORSD sought to study how to improve its predictive modeling capabilities and further enhance its efforts to protect public health.

To complement NEORSD’s existing daily water monitoring efforts for the presence of E. coli and other bacteria, our team helped deploy continuous, real-time water quality sensors which use Tryptophan-like fluorescence (TLF) and Optical Brighteners as indicator parameters for bacterial contamination. These sensors measure the indicator parameters in 10-minute intervals. This creates a high-density dataset that can be analyzed through a cloud-based data analytics platform and integrated with findings from NEORSD’s daily grab samples and rich existing predictive modeling data, for even more thorough tracking and detection of surface water bacteria.

The goal of the project was to better understand how the use of water quality sensors could integrate with NEORSD's existing water quality monitoring efforts at Edgewater Beach and potentially be used at other beach locations, to both improve predictive modeling capabilities and perhaps lead to the creation of a real-time alert system for enhanced public health protection.

Project highlights: environmental engineering, water quality monitoring, equipment installation, wet weather sampling, data analysis