Oct 10, 2019

Floating LED Light Installation Gauges Water Quality

A + Pool Light installation has been developed in New York City to inform residents of water quality. 

LED light installation in NYC

In New York City, a public installation, + Pool Light, floating on Manhattan's East River changes colors based on the water quality conditions.

The data is displayed on an online dashboard that informs viewers whether or not the current water conditions off Pier 17 are safe for swimming, reported New York NBC. The light installation tracks water quality parameters that impact swimmer experiences, such as temperature, turbidity and salinity. According to the installation’s website, the brightness, frequency and sharpness of the lights is reflected in oxygen, turbidity and pH. 

The nonprofit + Pool wanted to change New Yorkers’ perception of the city’s water quality by simplifying water quality data, reported Reaktor, the strategy and engineering company responsible for designing the installation’s online dashboard.

"The design recognizes the ‘+’ sign as a symbol of positivity, indicating the positive steps we have taken to improve water quality since the Clean Water Act of 1972," said Jeff Franklin, designer of + Pool Light. "Conceptually it is also a symbol of inclusivity in that the water that surrounds us belongs to no one single group, but to everyone."

When levels of Enterococci bacteria are safe for swimming,  + Pool Light glows teal, but if high levels of harmful pathogens are detected it turns pink, alerting the public that it is not safe to enter the water, according to the + Pool website. The sculpture also changes its direction based off the flow of the current.

"Water quality data is incredibly complex, so access to data means very little to everyday people," said Kara Meyer, managing director of Friends of + Pool. "We wanted to figure out a way to empower people with the data and engage them visually with what is happening in the water in front of them."

+ Pool Light is on display in New York's Seaport District until Jan. 4, 2020.

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