Data Acquisition

Sensor to Detect Lead in Home, City Water Lines

11 August 2017

Imagine being able to monitor your tap water for the presence of lead from the convenience of your home at a cost of only $20. University of Michigan (U-M) researchers are attempting to make that possibility a reality.

With the Flint water crisis standing as a national example of the dangers associated with the corrosion of lead pipes leaching into a city’s water supply, Mark Burns, the T.C. Chang Professor of Chemical Engineering at U-M, and his colleagues wanted to develop a sensor that could alert residents to the presence of lead in their tap water.

The sensor, which can be placed along key regions in city water systems and in the water taps of residents' homes, is designed to alert residents and officials to the presence of lead in the water within nine days.

"I hope it will have some impact because it is scary to think about having lead in your water," Burns said.

Detailed in Analytical Chemistry, the University of Michigan researchers are in search of partners to bring the sensor to market.

To see the sensor in action, watch the accompanying video.

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