USGS Water Quality Testing, San Francisco, USA

  • Sondes before coating
  • Sondes coated, before deployment
  • Sondes deploying
  • Sondes after 3 weeks at 30ft
  • Sondes after 3 weeks at 60ft
  • Uncoated sonde

USGS Water Quality Testing, San Francisco, USA

A common thread in marine research is challenges related to biofouling on submerged instruments and gear for the purpose of gathering data. The use of traditional anti-fouling is often not practical due to environmental concerns, copper paint interfering with instruments, rapid ablation, opacity, and a myriad of other reasons. The scientific community demands a product that does not harm the environment, will not interfere with the collection of data and is durable enough for submersion for long periods of time.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) conducts regular surveying of water quality throughout San Francisco Bay. They use instruments called sondes, these are pulled up weekly for cleaning as hydroids settle and grow on the sondes, reducing the quality of data or even stopping it entirely.

The USGS have tried a number of alternatives to ablative anti-fouling, with no effective solutions found other than using solid copper instruments, which is expensive and sometimes impractical. A USGS trial of Propspeed as a sonde coating was conducted, with very positive results. It was found that the coating not only significantly reduced growth on the instruments, extending the cleaning intervals, but also that any growth that did settle able to be removed with a hose and light brushing by hand, leaving the Propspeed intact.

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