Study of Groundwater Contaminants Leads to New Funding for Community Crowdsensing Research

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have received $1.46 million from the National Science Foundation to expand a previous study of private water well systems in Granger, Indiana. The study will focus on the identification of nitrate, a common groundwater contaminant that can cause low blood oxygen, which can lead to blue-baby syndrome and increase risk for certain cancers, birth defects, and thyroid issues.

For the previous phase of its research, the team utilized crowdsensing—a method of data collection that relies on people to gather information and report back—to analyze the nitrate contamination within private water well systems and to develop a framework for reliable and timely detection of drinking water contamination in private water well systems, said Dong Wang, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and principal investigator.

With the new funding, Wang and his team will have the capability to expand their research into new areas and analyze private well contaminants in suburban, rural, lakefront, and farming communities. The researchers will use crowdsensing for obtaining credible information about water contamination in private wells via citizen science through outreach and implementation strategies within the designated areas.

The study will take place over the next three years and incorporate a larger, interdisciplinary team from the University of Notre Dame.