Blue Water Satellite Scans Toxic Algae Blooms From Space

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Using satellites helps us monitor everything from animal migrations to forest cover to water supply levels. And now Blue Water Satellite has come up with another perfect use -- monitoring toxic blooms of blue-green algae in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Blue-green algae make news as a foul-smelling killer found everywhere from China to Turkey to the U.S. Monitoring where and when they occur can not only help control them but also pinpoint causes such as wastewater pollution.

Fast Company reports that the EPA is in talks with Blue Water Satellite to use their private satellites to scan the earth for concentrations of Cyanobacteria blooms, better known as blue-green algae which can be toxic, in 68,000 lakes across the US in a national lakes assessment. Not only can the company use their own images gathered from their satellites to create a whole picture of an area, but they can also use Landsat images stored on government servers to show a location over the course of years and help pinpoint the direct cause of a growing algae bloom.

While Blue Water Satellite is a very new company, only in operation for about two years, they are already finding a foothold in helping companies and organizations monitor water. Countries across the world are interested in using their services to watch, and hopefully control, blue-green algae blooms in their waters. The technology can help governments keep a sharp eye on companies that pollute the water supplies and spur blooms, and hopefully enforce stricter regulations to protect water supplies.