Meet the Teams: Erie Hack Team Prioritizes Water Resources



“To have a huge natural resource, and not be able to use it - this struck a nerve”

In 2016, Nida Ammar and Leo Idraikh moved to Toledo, Ohio from the country Jordan, a place where water is scarce. “We were given one person’s share of water per day - 23 gallons per day,” says Ammar. This ration was to be used for showering, for food, and for drinking.

For perspective: the average-sized person would need 50 gallons of water to comfortably soak in a bathtub.

Ammar expected to find plentiful, clean water in her new city next to one of the largest sources of surface freshwater in the world.

“When I moved here, I thought all my water problems would be gone. Water would be cheap, easy to access. But then I heard about the water advisories.”

While Ammar moved to Toledo after the 2014 Toledo drinking water crisis, but evidence of the emergency that left Toledo residents without water for 3 days due to harmful algal blooms still felt present in the city.

“To have a huge natural resource, and not be able to use it - this struck a nerve,” she says.

And so, CCTronic was born. With a team of passionate entrepreneurs who had come from countries where water resources were scarce, CCTronic wanted to create technologies that could benefit Lake Erie and help solve its problems. The team signed up for Erie Hack in Toledo and has advanced to the all-city Semi Final round.

The technology CCTronic is pitching is called cHorizon. It is a system designed to conserve soil and extract nutrients out of water runoff before nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen funnel into the lake, contributing to the nutrient loading that causes the same harmful algal blooms that plagued Toledo in 2014.


The system contains three parts: the probe, the valve, and the extraction mesh. The probe contains sensors that collect information about the soil where it is implanted, transmitting real time data back to the farmer to help guide decision making. This data would be accessible via an app on a smartphone or tablet.

From there, water runoff is regulated via a valve connected to the tile systems that run beneath fields, allowing the farmer to control the outflow of water resources. When water flows out, the final component of cHorizon kicks in: a mesh extraction device designed to extract nutrients from runoff water before it returns to the rivers and lakes.

Erie Hack is a pitching competition designed to find and accelerate some of the most exciting, cutting-edge technologies that can help solve our water problems in the Great Lakes region and beyond. If cHorizon were to win any prize money from the competition? “The winnings would go directly into producing the first batch of cHorizon and creating a pilot program for us to put it into pilot farms. We will be able to see how farmers would react to the product and what we would need to enhance.”

CCTronic includes Leo Idraikh, Beyan Khazaleh, Nida Ammar, and Ala Abu Emair. You can see them pitch at the Erie Hack Semi Final at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Detroit on June 5th, 2019.

Blog, NewsSavannah Tracy