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Sensor Technology Provides Early Detection of Bacteria in Water

Sensor Technology Provides Early Detection of Bacteria in Water

Bacteria can pose a serious problem for humans. People can generally stay healthy with proper hygiene and avoiding germy areas. However, when bacteria enters the water supply, things can change quickly.
New sensor technology is paving the way for bacteria detection in any source of water. This innovation could be a groundbreaking development since access to clean resources can be an issue anywhere in the world. Early detection, specifically, can play a key role in preventing people from drinking contaminated fluids.

The Need for Testing Water

Any clean water supply can change in seconds. A broken or dirty pipe can lead to contamination, as can various pollutants and bacteria. With these threats, real-time testing becomes a necessity.
Flint, Michigan, is a real-life example of the dangers of water contamination. From lead to bacteria, the city's water systems have endured significant amounts of toxins, a problem that's lasting years. Various forms of instant testing could determine continued safety for the community and ensure the supplies stay clean.
Another example is the various beaches across the world that become crowded with people every summer. Due to the high populations in these areas, any bacteria in the water could pose severe health risks. Currently, standard testing for pollutants can take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. This time frame is too long, however, as someone could contract an illness before the results come in. Real-time testing is what individuals and the public need.

New Sensor Technology

With innovations happening every day, technology is speeding the process towards cleaner water testing. At San Diego State University, environmental engineers have developed a sensing technology that can test for levels of bacteria in the water. The device uses a portable subversive fluorometer to do so — meaning it can detect any fluorescence within the bacteria and measure it.
Part of the issue with standard testing is the incubation period, but this new technology uses telemetry to provide instant, real-time measurements. This technique will be invaluable for the many beaches and public bodies of water than can easily accrue bacteria.
This sensor can take readings from anywhere — oceans, lakes, water treatment plants, etc. — and provide readings. Experts can then interpret the data and make an informed decision about bacteria levels.

Testing at Alvarado Creek

This new technology works in both theory and practice. Off the San Diego River, Alvarado Creek makes a prime testing spot for bacteria. Natalie Mladenov, an associate professor, and Lorelay Mendoza, a former engineering student, use this area for the latest sensor developments.
Mendoza places their meter, which detects fluorescence, in the creek before an impending storm. During the experiment, they can see the various ways that storms or hurricanes affect local water supplies and contaminate them with bacteria. Adverse weather can wear out old pipes in sewers or supply systems. They can also carry various pollutants and deposit them in bodies of water during strong winds.
During storms, Mendoza found that discharge from wastewater increased in the creek, with the fluorescence sensors allowing her to track the fluctuation in bacteria levels. The meter shows how easily any water can become contaminated.

Other Forms of Early Detection

The fluorescence meter is a big step towards improving public health and safety. Elsewhere, more innovations are improving individual water supplies with technology. Researchers at the University of California San Diego, for instance, are working on a form of instant detection that could sense harmful heavy metals in individual supplies.
With advancements like these happening all around the globe, the safety of water will improve. Utilizing real-time measurements, these technologies are the way of the future.
Emily is an environmental writer who covers topics in sustainability, renewable energy and technology. To read more of her work, check out her blog, Conservation Folks.

About Author:

I am Thomas Britto here to share my experiences in the civil engineering field to all my readers.Today many students are struggling to buy books at high prices. So I decided to start a blog and share my experience and knowledge with all my readers.

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