Roger Connor

Roger Connor

News Anchor

Beacon Institute’s REON II could transform environmental science with cost-saving sensor arrays

BEACON, NY — In the race to find solutions to critical water issues, the launch of a new cost-effective water quality sensor device by Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries|Clarkson University is the first step in overcoming hurdles of historically prohibitive costs for long-term water resource monitoring. The installation of the Institute’s newest generation of River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON II) sensor arrays signifies the passing of the baton from the science lab to the river as they run ahead, complementing government capacity to invest in “wiring” the river for cleaner water.

The REON II device or “Sonde,” deployed October 6th on the banks of the Hudson River in New Hamburg, NY is providing real-time data called for by scientists to better understand the complex relationship between humans, the built environment and our fragile waterways. It is one of 37 sensor stations currently in place in the Hudson and St. Lawrence River watersheds, making REON one of the world’s most robust resources of real-time data. The goal of the REON research team to develop affordable, scalable, low-profile sensor networks and its potential for making water sensor technology universal, could be transformational to the field of environmental science. “Scientific instruments have been able to do what we do here but at a price that can knock you right out of the market,” says Beacon Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy F. Sugrue, Ph.D. “With innovative modifications to technology and materials Beacon Institute has totally bent the cost-curve for real-time monitoring, opening doors for a new era of environmental protection.

Applications of REON data could include the ability to visualize the movement of chemical or biological contaminants, with far-reaching implications for public health, including homeland security concerns. “Applying world class research to water quality has to be viewed as a critical component for sustaining society as a whole,” says Clarkson University President Tony Collins. “As healthy water becomes increasingly scarce, establishing real-time data as the new standard for understanding water quality around the globe is the key to human survival.”

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