EPA To Launch New Tool To Help Monitor Water Quality

EPA To Launch New Tool To Help Monitor Water Quality

waterThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of a new tool, CyANWeb, that can help federal, state, Tribal, and local partners identify when a harmful algal bloom (HAB) may be forming where people swim, fish, and boat. The tool uses satellite data to alert users based on specific changes in the color of the water in over 2,000 of the largest lakes and reservoirs across the United States.

Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, occur naturally in many water bodies. However, when they multiply, they can form potentially toxic HABs, which can increase drinking water treatment costs for communities and impact lakes and other recreational areas. CyANWeb, developed by the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) with input from users across the country, makes cyanobacteria satellite data more accessible to water quality managers, communities, and anyone interested in knowing more about water quality in their area.

“Making this satellite data available across more platforms will improve our ability to respond to harmful algal blooms,” said Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the EPA Science Advisor. “The release of this update is another step towards ensuring the quality of our nation’s drinking and recreational waters.”

CyANWeb uses historical and current satellite data to develop daily and weekly images that serve as an early warning system for HABs. These images can help federal, state, Tribal, and local partners in their efforts to monitor and assess water quality. They can also help lake managers and people who swim, fish, or boat in lakes identify when a HAB may be forming. CyANWeb is easy to use and has features that let users view comparisons of multiple water bodies over time, as well asmark locations for future reference.

Users can access CyANWeb with the help of a desktop computer, tablet, smart phone, and most other internet-browsing devices. CyANWeb uses satellite data that was previously only available within the CyAN Android™ app EPA released in 2019. CyAN Android™ is available for download in the Google Play™ store for Android™ devices.  EPA researchers developed CyANWeb as the latest effort stemming from the CyAN partnership with researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).