Water sampling devices are keeping watch around the clock for toxic discharges into Melbourne’s creeks and stormwater drains, thanks to Victorian researchers at the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM), based at the University of Melbourne.
And, they are also developing a new range of aquatic critter-containing sensors.
The Autonomous Live Animal Response Monitors (ALARM) will house live molluscs, insects or shrimps and transmit images and data to scientists via the web, in the ultimate test of a creek’s health.
“We’ll be able to sit in the office and look at how a shrimp in a stream 500 km away has been faring overnight.”
The technology is under development in aquarium-based trials.
Meanwhile, CAPIM’s pollutant samplers are already in place in targeted waterways and drains to watch for toxic discharges.
In cases where the pollution is traced to its source, their data is handed over to environmental authorities.
CAPIM was established to identify and manage pollution in waterways with a three-year, $2.98 million collaborative science and innovation grant from the Victorian Government.
“The funding we were awarded was a real fillip because it gave us a chance to develop new technologies … the samplers are a key part of why we’re able to identify point-source pollution,” says Vincent.
Photo: CAPIM researchers examine how different species react to changes in water conditions.
Credit: Steve Marshall
Photo: Victorian researchers are developing real-time sensors of water quality.
Victorian Department of Business and Innovation, www.business.vic.gov.au/innovation