Wireless Underwater Telemetry System for Surface Water Quality Monitoring

EPA Contract Number: EPD04049
Title: Wireless Underwater Telemetry System for Surface Water Quality Monitoring
Investigators: Schaefer, Philip
Small Business: Vortant Technologies LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $69,338
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The goal of this Phase I research project is to create a product to revolutionize the planning, installation, damage resistance, and cost effectiveness of in situ, real-time water quality monitoring systems. The proposed project will develop a water quality telemetry system that eliminates the wires, cables, and above-water electronics currently needed for real-time monitoring. Using an innovative technology that overcomes the problems of transmitting radio waves through water, the new system will transmit real-time data from a compact, submerged sensor module over land, to a telemetry receiver located at a convenient location, perhaps miles from the measurement point. The new telemetry technology will substantially eliminate inadvertent and intentional damage to critical water quality monitoring installations and greatly reduce complications of aesthetics, site choice, and cabling currently associated with real-time monitoring.

Phase I will establish feasibility of the technology from a variety of perspectives. Water quality scientist Dr. Richard Maas of the University of North Carolina, Asheville (UNCA), will lead the definition of system requirements from the user's perspective and define a test series to demonstrate transmission capability over a variety of representative lake, river, and stream monitoring scenarios. From the technical perspective, previous electronics designs developed by Vortant Technologies, LLC, for a Department of Defense underwater signaling application will be extended to meet water quality monitoring requirements.

Field testing in collaboration with UNCA will demonstrate transmission of water quality data sets from a submerged transmitter to a portable, on-land receiver. An applications matrix will be created in Phase I, identifying existing and enabled water quality monitoring functions and the impact of the new technology. Finally, a complete system design showing the integration of the technology into the "big picture," including price, data sensing, and use, will be produced. The primary commercial application of the technology is an underwater transmitter module that can interface to a wide variety of water quality sensing elements, as well as a companion telemetry receiver that can be located at any desired location on land for the processing or relay of real-time water quality data.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, wireless underwater telemetry system, surface water quality, real-time monitoring, radio waves, sensor, water quality monitoring requirements, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Drinking Water, Environmental Engineering, monitoring, wireless underwater telemetry system, underwater telemetry system, water quality, drinking water contaminants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report