Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
High concentration suspended sediment measurments using a continuous fiber optic in-stream
- Author(s): Campbell, Chris G.
- Laycak, Danny T.
- Hoppes, William
- Tran, Nguyen T.
- Shi, Frank G.
- et al.
Suspended sediment loads mobilized during high flow periods in rivers and streams are largely uncharacterized. In smaller and intermittent streams, a large storm may transport a majority of the annual sediment budget. Therefore monitoring techniques that can measure high suspended sediment concentrations at semi-continuous time intervals are needed. A Fiber optic In-stream Transmissometer (FIT) is presented for continuous measurement of high concentration suspended sediment in storm runoff. FIT performance and precision were demonstrated to be reasonably good for suspended sediment concentrations up to 10g/L. The FIT was compared to two commercially available turbidity devices and provided better precision and accuracy at both high and low concentrations. Both turbidity devices were unable to collect measurements at concentrations greater than 4 g/L. The FIT and turbidity measurements were sensitive to sediment particle size. Particle size dependence of transmittance and turbidity measurement poses the greatest problem for calibration to suspended sediment concentration. While the FIT was demonstrated to provide acceptable measurements of high suspended sediment concentrations, approaches to real-time suspended sediment detection need to address the particle size dependence in concentration measurements.