Wireless Underwater Telemetry System for Surface Water Quality Monitoring

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EPD04049
Agency Tracking Number: BC3B1-0138
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C3-NCER-B1
Solicitation Number: PR-NC-03-10275
Solicitation Year: 2004
Award Year: 2004
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2004-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2004-08-31
Small Business Information
88 High Country Road, Weaverville, NC, 28787
DUNS: 155118362
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Philip Schaefer
 Chief Scientist
 (828) 645-1026
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Schaefer
Title: Controller
Phone: (828) 645-1026
Email: liz@vortant.com
Research Institution
The goal of this Phase I research project is to create a product to revolutionize the planning, installation, damage resistance, and cost effectiveness of in situ, real-time water quality monitoring systems. The proposed project will develop a water quality telemetry system that eliminates the wires, cables, and above-water electronics currently needed for real-time monitoring. Using an innovative technology that overcomes the problems of transmitting radio waves through water, the new system will transmit real-time data from a compact, submerged sensor module over land, to a telemetry receiver located at a convenient location, perhaps miles from the measurement point. The new telemetry technology will substantially eliminate inadvertent and intentional damage to critical water quality monitoring installations and greatly reduce complications of aesthetics, site choice, and cabling currently associated with real-time monitoring. Phase I will establish feasibility of the technology from a variety of perspectives. Water quality scientist Dr. Richard Maas of the University of North Carolina, Asheville (UNCA), will lead the definition of system requirements from the user's perspective and define a test series to demonstrate transmission capability over a variety of representative lake, river, and stream monitoring scenarios. From the technical perspective, previous electronics designs developed by Vortant Technologies, LLC, for a Department of Defense underwater signaling application will be extended to meet water quality monitoring requirements. Field testing in collaboration with UNCA will demonstrate transmission of water quality data sets from a submerged transmitter to a portable, on-land receiver. An applications matrix will be created in Phase I, identifying existing and enabled water quality monitoring functions and the impact of the new technology. Finally, a complete system design showing the integration of the technology into the "big picture," including price, data sensing, and use, will be produced. The primary commercial application of the technology is an underwater transmitter module that can interface to a wide variety of water quality sensing elements, as well as a companion telemetry receiver that can be located at any desired location on land for the processing or relay of real-time water quality data.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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