Satellite System In Testing Stages Could Detect Toxic Algae Earlier

Jul 31, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is testing satellites to detect harmful algae in New England lakes. The new technology could discover algae blooms without help from citizen scientists.

A majority of algae blooms are first reported through calls from residents citing contaminated water and sending pictures said Brian Zalewsky, a scientist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

The new satellite imagery would be able to pick up algae hot spots sooner and without human help. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is testing the new technology in some New England states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Harmful algae blooms can be spurred by farm runoff and sewage overflows.

Developers hope to have the system in place for 1,800 U.S. lakes within two years.