$50K smart buoys that can text you back launched into Lake Erie

The buoys will help the water department make sure your water is safe.

$50K smart buoys that can text you back launched into Lake Erie
This smart buoy was placed in Lake Erie today that can measure weather conditions, wave height and even what's in the water. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -It was a cold morning at the Edgewater boat launch in Cleveland, but an important one.

For the fifth year, two of three bright yellow smart buoys were launched into Lake Erie.

Each one can monitor, in real time, water temperatures, wind speed and direction and wave height.

“The old method was ships would literally call into port and say ‘it’s this wavy, it’s this windy,’ and someone would write that down on a piece of paper,” Ed Verhamme said, who is a Project Engineer for LimnoTech who built the buoys.

“We’ve advanced from that. We have cell modems, we have continuous sensors and they can transmit data every second.”

More importantly, and why the Cleveland Water Department pays $50,000 a year for them, the smart buoys can detect what’s in the water.

“pH, the acidity of water, algae content, not just green algae but the harmful algae, the blue green or the cyanobacteria,” Scott Moegling said who is a Water Quality Manager with the water department.

By knowing the condition of the lake water being pumped in, they know how to treat the water to make it safe for you to drink.

“It’s a very critical part of our treatment puzzle,” Moegling said.

The public can also text the buoys and it seconds the buoy will text you back.

Boaters, anglers and swimmers are encouraged to text them to get conditions like water temperature

There will eventually be three buoys in the Cleveland area and each has an ID number:

  • 45169 placed for the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, the proposed wind farm (4 miles out)
  • 45176 placed for the Cleveland Water department near the intake crib (2 miles out)
  • 45164 placed for Great Lakes Observing System (10 miles out)

Text the ID number to 866-218-9973, and it will text back with lake details once they are connected.

There are dozens of buoys place throughout all of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.

You can find those buoys ID numbers here.

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