Nutrients – nitrogen and phosphorus – are essential for healthy ecosystems. However, high nutrient levels can harm our environment, our economy, and our health. In America, excessive nutrient levels threaten water quality in 100,000 miles of streams, 800 square miles of bays and 2.5 million acres of lakes. The Nutrient Sensor Challenge will accelerate the development and deployment of affordable nutrient sensors for use in aquatic environments. The goal is to have technologies commercially available by 2017 to reduce the cost and complexity of collecting nutrient data and allow for better measurement and tracking of nutrients throughout ecosystems.
The Partnership on Technology Innovation and the Environment (PTIE) helped develop this Challenge by holding a workshop in June 2014 that provided critical input from a range of experts. PTIE conducted a survey and analyzed responses to gauge the market potential for affordable water-based technologies that could help better protect the environment by providing meaningful, real-time data.
EPA and PTIE are both part of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition, a group of federal agencies, universities, and non- profit organizations coordinating innovative approaches to develop a suite of effective and affordable sensors to measure nutrients in water and soil.