An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.


Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge

The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is a technology-accelerating water quality challenge to demonstrate how nutrient sensors can be used by states and local communities to help manage nutrient pollution. Find out more about nutrient pollution.

The Challenge calls for demonstrations showing:

  • The effective use of low-cost sensors 
  • Innovative partnerships to pilot the sensors 
  • How collected data and information can be part of state and local decision-making.   

Stage I

In Stage I of the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge, which closed September 20, 2017, teams submitted action plans detailing how they intend to deploy and use sensors to meet Challenge goals.

Stage II

In this phase of the challenge, teams are deploying the sensors and collecting data as they compete for a share in $100,000 in prizes. Stage II launched March 1, 2018 and a public webinar detailing Stage II requirements took place on March 15, 2018. Participation in Stage I was not a requirement for entry in Stage II.  Due to the recent government shutdown, the deadline for submission of Stage II results has been extended until February 28, 2019, at 11:59 PM UTC (6:59 PM ET).

Partners and Collaborators

The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS®).

Related Nutrient Challenges

The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is part of a suite of Challenges that aim to take a collaborative, data-driven approach to addressing nutrient pollution.  The first initiative, the Nutrient Sensor Challenge sought the development of an affordable, reliable sensor for measuring nitrate and phosphate levels in water. Later, the Visualizing Nutrients Challenge tasked participants with using open government data sources to create compelling, innovative, and comprehensible visualizations of the complexities of nutrient pollution. High school students then participated in the Visualize your Water Challenge that was a collaboration with USGS. The Advanced Septic Nitrogen Sensor Challenge Phase II is also underway seeking to identify and spur development of technologies to monitor nitrogen concentration in effluent from wastewater treatment systems.  With the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge we can demonstrate successful strategies for incorporating nutrient sensors into existing water monitoring efforts, and help states and communities overcome the major barriers to taking action to prevent and reduce nutrient pollution.