Submitted to: Turbidity and Other Sediment Surrogates Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2002
Publication Date: 3/10/2003
Citation: Wren, D.G., Kuhnle, R.A. 2003. Surrogate techniques for suspended-sediment measurement. In: Proceedings of the Federal Interagency Workshop on Turbidity and Other Sediment Surrogates Workshop. Reno, NV. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1250. Interpretive Summary: Interpretative summary not required - Abstract Only
Technical Abstract: Physical, chemical, and biological sediment damage in North America has been estimated to be up to $16 billion dollars annually. Accepted methods of collecting sediment data are labor intensive, expensive and may be of unknown accuracy due to the large spatial and temporal variability associated with the transport of suspended sediment. To fill this data void, automatic, cost-effective techniques are needed to collect high quality data on suspended sediment load. The following paragraphs describe optical backscatter, optical transmission, focused beam reflectance, laser diffraction, acoustic, nuclear, spectral reflectance, digital optical, vibrating tube, differential pressure, and impact sampler methods for measuring suspended-sediment concentration. The operating principle of each method is briefly described and, where the information was available, the particle size and concentration ranges were included. At the present time many options exist for the measurement of sediments suspended in water. All of the techniques reviewed above, however, suffer from limitations that render the techniques inadequate in some environments. Perhaps the best option for suspended sediment measurement remains a hybrid approach that relies on more than one technique and maintains a manual component. Continued improvements in technology will undoubtedly translate into improved methods to collect suspended sediment data in the future.