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Natural Resources and Parks

King County, Washington

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DNRP
July 31, 2013

King County keeping an eye on Puget Sound water quality with a new monitoring buoy

A new marine water quality monitoring buoy launched this week by King County will provide a wealth of data about Puget Sound water conditions to scientists and the public alike.

At more than seven and a half feet in diameter and standing three feet tall with a seven-foot-tall mast,P_S_Buoy the yellow, donut-shaped buoy is firmly anchored in about 550 feet of water just less than half a mile off Point Williams in West Seattle. The buoy was deployed July 30th by staff with the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit.

The water quality monitoring system on the buoy consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15 minutes.

These sensors are suspended about three feet below the buoy. Collected data are sent via a cell phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data, at https://green.kingcounty.gov/marine-buoy/default.aspx.

Water quality sensors and communications equipment were repurposed from a former monitoring system that stopped functioning about one year ago.

The new water quality monitoring system is one of four locations in Puget Sound that collect data every 15 minutes.

Collected data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.

Learn more about the King County Environmental Lab at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/data-and-trends/environmental-lab.aspx.