The Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) is a unique real-time water and weather monitoring system that has been developed as a result of several NSF grants (examples: NSF/DLR; NSF/TUES; NSF/REU Site) to enhance water sustainability education and research at Virginia Tech. LEWAS is installed at the outlet of Webb Branch on the VT campus just off of West Campus Drive, downstream of the Perry Street Parking lots and just upstream of the Duck Pond. LEWAS has sensors to measure water quality and quantity data including flow rate, depth, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and temperature. This data can be used as an indicator of stream health for an on-campus impaired stream in real-time. In addition, weather parameters (temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and precipitation) are measured at the LEWAS outdoor site. In the future, all of these environmental parameters will be accessable to remote users in real-time through a web-based interface for education and research. LEWAS is solar powered and uses the campus wireless network through a high-gain antenna to transmit data to remote clients in real-time.
LEWAS Flow Diagram: The battery backed solar system powers six sensors. Python program on a Raspberry Pi collect and parse the data received from the sensors and transmit it through the campus wireless network to a database.
- The LEWAS Research Lab Team
Construction Site Runoff
Developing case studies is not an easy job. Water quality and quantity are effected by rain events which calls for immediate action by team members. This picture was taken late one evening by Todd Aronhalt.
A few oil sheens were found in the stream just this past week. The LEWAS site is located downstream from mostly impervious development and road pavement. These oil sheens could be from motor oil runoff after rain events.