Satellite Images Shed Light on Water Contamination


 

A satellite image from Blue Water Satellite shows a power plant’s discharge into a lake.

Blue Water Satellite (BWS) uses Earth imagery that water body managers can use to detect and assess problems as well as develop remediation strategies. BWS works with various state, municipal and government agencies as well as utilities, oil and gas companies, and other organizations responsible for managing water bodies. BWS CEO Milt Baker believes his image technology can help prevent events like last summer’s Pigeon Lake incident near Calgary, where hundreds of fish died and washed ashore near the lake’s Ma-Me-O Beach in late July.

“Our images allow responsible organizations to get an immediate assessment of water conditions right from their desktop without having to dispatch sampling teams,” explains Baker. “Unlike physical sampling, we provide a complete picture of what’s happening across the entire body of water.”

BWS images often allow managers to treat only those portions of a water body showing problems. When the satellite data are overlaid with geographic information system (GIS) data, remediation teams can be dispatched to exact coordinates for timely, cost-effective treatment. For example, “… instead of treating the entire 2,000 acres of a lake at $450/acre, you can pinpoint problems and only treat 100 acres,” says Baker.

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