Public Lab Research note

Oil and Gas Hardware Fellow Status Update: Week 3!

by wmacfarl | October 07, 2019 16:51 07 Oct 16:51 | #21107 | #21107

It's the beginning of the third week of the Public Lab Oil and Gas water monitoring fellowship trio and we've all been busy starting to weave together the threads of the three different fellowships and research areas.

As the Hardware Fellow, I've had two initial goals:

  1. Research and document the setup and use of the water quality sensors currently in use by Public Lab community members and related water-quality monitoring organizations and initiatives.


  1. Research and collect information about how different kinds of water quality data can be used to measure the impacts of oil and gas industries.

My hope is that, between these two projects, we can come up with a set of tools and techniques for collecting water quality that are easy to perform and which provide data that is easy to use.

Because we would like any work that we do with hardware and instrumentation to be focused on collecting useful data in an accessible way, my early work on this topic has been research into the uses of community data and indicators of oil and gas related contamination. Some of this preliminary research, alongside feedback from the Public Lab community, is collected in these questions:

Our monitoring methods fellow, @charlotte_clark, has already put together some fantastic information around water quality indicators and has begun conducting a survey which will gives us more context around how water quality monitoring is being conducted and inform the design of any tools and procedures we develop.

In the coming week(s) I hope that we can collect and synthesize more of this information into document and set of resources summarizing how and why people who are concerned about oil and gas industrycontamination might collect and share water quality data.

At the same time, I've begun to look at some of the sensors that we have available for monitoring and data collection. I have a set of sensors from DF Robot as well as some cheaper handheld water quality meters designed for aquariums/swimming pools.

I began testing the DF Robot sensors with the Arduino and got them all up and running and collecting data last week. With these sensors up-and-running I can also compare the data they collect with the data from the self-contained, handheld pH and conductivity meters.

This coming week I hope to turn this work into a series of basic tutorials for getting started with and calibrating these sensors and to more deeply explore their potential uses and limitations.


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