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Current Monitors Water Quality of Chicago River

Staff from Current on a bridge monitoring the water

H2NOWChicago, the first real-time monitoring tool for the Chicago River, is available at The platform is providing water quality reports every 15 minutes from three spots along the river and testing an array of novel technologies. Current, the Chicago-based catalyst for better, cleaner water, is leading H2NOW operations with the support of more than 20 partners. Current has placed sensors that record an indicator of fecal matter levels at a popular recreation spot on each of the three branches of the river which will be removed during the winter. In the past, public river monitoring has been accomplished by sending samples to a lab and waiting at least a day for results.
Alaina Harkness, executive director of Current, says, "H2NOW is for anyone who cares about the health of the Chicago River. People who use the river for play or for work; boaters, kayakers and business owners, will find it especially useful. H2NOW reports on the river like a meteorologist reports on the weather, giving you information to help determine when the river is safe to use and when you should stay away."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot states, "It is critically important that we maintain and protect our precious resources, particularly our waterways. Testing and monitoring our water is the first step in instituting protections for the environment and our residents. Being the first of its kind, this platform and the water monitoring technology it is testing in our city are very exciting and helpful, not only to our residents, but can no doubt be used by other cities in the future. I am happy to see the development of this technology that will provide a better and more efficient way to ensure the safe use and enjoyment of the Chicago River."