In summer, it is a great sensation to take a fresh dive into natural swimming water and to relax at the border but this is not always safe. In surface water, blue algae are naturally present. In fact, blue algae are no algae but cyanobacteria. During summer, if het water is warm and if too many nutrients are present in the water, these bacteria can muliply so fast that they are dominantly present.
Since cyanobacteria have gas vacuoles, they can adjust their floating capabilities to be present near the water surface where they have light and nutrients at the same time. This means that we may be in contact with these bacteria during our swimming activities. Many blue algae species are poisonous and contact may result in skin irratation. Additionally, swallowing contaminated water may result in illness. For this reason, the government checks the swimming water quality at many places in The Netherlands. This is done by taking samples of the swimming water and analyzing them.
In order to monitor the surface water quality real time and in a cost effective way and without taking samles, we developed the Aqua Color algae sensor.
How does het Aqua Color Algae Sensor work?
The Aqua Color Algae Sensor is placed in a water pipe or submerged under water directly and detects the presence of cyanobacteria in the following way:+
- A “true white” LED produces light at wavelengths between 400 nm and 700 nm.
- A special photo sensor measure the light absorption and fluorescance over the whole region at 250 different wavelengths. Software analyses the resulting spectrum and draws conclusions on the concentration and type of algae in the water.
- The measurements are uploaded wirelessly to a cloud service that is accessible for the customer.
- Optionally, we can equip our sensor with a temperature and oxygen measurement and an interface to wire that signals to your own data logger or cloud service.