Clean Water in Port Report: Dockside Particle Detector Environmental Analysis

Andrew Thompson, “Clean Water in Port Report: Dockside Particle Detector Environmental Analysis”
Mentors: Marcia Silva & Thomas Hansen, Global Water Center & Freshwater Sciences

Marine ports, while necessary for modern trade, also come with environmental concerns. Trade vessels run on bunker fuel which has a higher sulfate level than diesel does and is known to dirty the water. To the port, cars and trucks deliver people, products, and pollution. Even small vessels may resuspend sediment and erode waterways. The Milwaukee Municipal Mooring Basin is no exception. The methods to measure pollution in water can be slow and costly. This study focuses on testing a particle detector produced at UWM as a surrogate to detect pollution intrusion in the Milwaukee Municipal Mooring Basin. The results show a correlation between the particle sensor and traditional methods for detecting various water quality indicators. With the sensor already being faster than the traditional methods and lower cost than most, the Milwaukee Municipal Mooring Basin may one day be easier to take care of because of it.

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  1. This sounds like interesting, important work. It would be great to hear more about your results– I’m afraid I don’t have the skills (or vision) to understand the results.

    1. Hi Anna!
      To be brief, the results were disappointing in that the measurements taken would not correlate well with our particle counts. When we limited the size of particles counted to be roughly the size of bacteria, our correlations got better (r = ~0.5). I wish we could do more testing 🙁

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