WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is joining forces with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms, according to a press release.

EPA researchers will develop a mobile app to notify water quality managers of water quality changes using satellite data on cyanobacteria algal blooms from NASA, NOAA and USGS, stated the release.

The project, continued the release, will create a standard, reliable method for detecting cyanobacteria blooms in fresh water lakes and reservoirs throughout the U.S. using ocean color satellite data.

To allow for more frequent observations over wider areas than can be accomplished by taking traditional water samples, reported the release, numerous satellite data sets will be evaluated against environmental data collected from the fresh water reservoirs and lakes.

“EPA researchers are developing important scientific tools to help local communities respond quickly and efficiently to real-time water quality issues and protect drinking water for their residents,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Working with other federal agencies, we are leveraging our scientific expertise, technology and data to create a mobile app to help water quality managers make important decisions to reduce negative impacts related to harmful algal blooms, which have been increasingly affecting our water bodies due to climate change.”

The annual cost of fresh water degraded by harmful algal blooms in the U.S. is estimated to be around $64 million in additional drinking water treatment, decline in waterfront real estate values and loss of recreational water usage, noted the release.

Read the entire release here.