New research is aiming to prevent toxic algae outbreaks across a three-state region, including part of Kentucky. It’s difficult to predict when and where the harmful algae will show up.
Researchers at The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission are working with Ohio State University on the multi-year project. The study will set up sensors along the Ohio River to alert researchers when and where there might be a problem.
The sensors will be able to detect potentially harmful algae and help researchers determine where to concentrate testing. Once the problem area is detected the proper drinking water utilities can be alerted. Water samples will be collected in southern Ohio, northern Kentucky and southern Indiana.
The system should be ready in time for this year’s algae season, during the summertime. Two years ago, a plume of algae twisted more than 600 miles down the Ohio River. Researchers are working to determine if that was a rare occurrence or the beginning of a trend.