Keeping an Eye on Algae

Aug. 25, 2014

The Teledyne Isco 6712 portable sampler was used to monitor the production of the blue-green algal and algae toxins that could contaminate Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. The lake supplies drinking water to several surrounding major cities and there was a concern that toxins from algae growth could contaminate the local drinking water. 

To address the public concern, high-resolution sampling was required. Professor Todd Miller and his team from the University of Wisconsin used a Teledyne Isco 6712 portable sampler to assist them with their research. The sampler was ideal for this study because of its compact design, efficient power usage and built-in SDI-12 interface, which provides flexibility when connecting multiparameter sondes.

The objective of this study was to link water quality parameters and algal toxin concentrations in the lake with the removal efficiency of the drinking water treatment processes. Because the water samples needed to be taken from the lake at various times, the team found a way to sample the water without having to remain on the lake for days at a time. The team attached the portable sampler to a homemade buoy equipped with sensors that measured parameters such as water and air temperature, and blue-green algae pigment levels in the lake. A modem on the buoy sent data collected by the sensors to Miller’s lab.

According to Miller, the sampler and buoy were a good pairing for this study. The sequenced program took enough samples for the team to get an adequate amount of samples per day for their project with minimal visit retrieve samples. 

“We are not aware of other products that would have worked as well as the 6712 portable sampler. Power, sample volume and sample integrity were all perfect,” Miller said.

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