Public Lab Research note

Water Quality Monitoring: Community-based Science

by MadTinker | March 09, 2018 19:30 09 Mar 19:30 | #15905 | #15905

I've been asked to give a presentation on my water quality work (philosophy, sensor development, STEM education, etc) at a small, local mining conference (San Juan Mining and Reclamation Conference, ). They've been warned that all of the work is still in the development stage. Most of the topics and a majority of the hardware will be recognizable by Public Lab folks. The abstract is below and the presentation will be available on YouTube later this year.


The paper introduces some public science-based technology being developed to support water quality monitoring of the Upper Rio Grande watershed. These efforts involve the development of a network of simple in situ water quality monitoring sensors, the development of associated educational material to support science programs in the local elementary school, and the development of a more sophisticated, portable sensor package for both data collection and an educational resource. Often the collection of sophisticated, highly accurate data is limited to a finite number of sampling locations over widely spaced temporal sampling intervals. Even with a large volunteer base, financial and other resources associated with sample collection, preparation, and analysis can severely limit the availability of data. An alternative is the development of in situ sensor networks that provides quality data over a much broader time period. The goal is to take advantage of the various efforts by various citizen science and open source hardware groups to construct a network of lower cost sensor packages that can be distributed through the Upper Rio Grande watershed. While somewhat lower in measurement resolution, the sensor packages would provide the capability to monitor changes to water quality over time and allow more focused and timely response in the event of a mine breach, waste spill, etc. The subject of this presentation is work that is still in the early stages of development but may still provide an introduction to a path being explored and provide some points of welcome discussion and feedback.


If it's helpful, this page helps with the context of "prototyping kits" to ensure people know things are "in the testing phase" --

The presentation sounds great. Glad to hear it!

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hi @MadTinker , could you add the YouTube link here? Looking forward to it!

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