Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Field Techniques for Suspended Sediment Measurement

Authors
item Wren, Daniel - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
item Barkdoll, Brian - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
item Kuhnle, Roger
item Derrow, Robert - UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

Submitted to: Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Accurate determinations of the rate of sediment being moved by a stream are necessary because the sediment may fill reservoirs and reduce their capacity, may fill channels and cause flooding, may degrade water quality, and may cause instability of the channel banks which can cause the destruction of valuable land. Information on sediment movement is also necessary to evaluate potential impacts on aquatic organisms. Managers and researchers who deal with agricultural watersheds need accurate information on sediment movement at key locations to evaluate and develop plans to restore the physical environment of streams. This paper gives a state of the art review of the different techniques currently available to measure sediment as it is moved in the water column of streams and rivers. The information is valuable for managers and researchers who deal with agricultural and other watersheds.

Technical Abstract: The measurement of suspended sediment, particularly in field settings, is important in the documentation of sediment transport and deposition. Many measurement techniques have been used with varying degrees of success. The techniques, including their operating principles, advantages, and disadvantages are discussed. The techniques discussed include: acoustic, bottle, pump, focused beam reflectance, laser diffraction, nuclear, optical backscatter, optical transmission, and spectral reflectance. Emphasis is placed on instrumentation techniques, as this is the area of suspended sediment measurement that has the greatest potential for improving sediment data. Acoustic technology (if further developed) emerges as a promising technology because of its ability to measure the concentration profile without intruding into the flow. This technology- transfer information will be valuable to practitioners and researchers needing to choose a means of measuring suspended sediment. The choice of a measurement technique has implications for sampling efficacy and expense.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page