Improving Suspended Sediment Measurements by Automatic Samplers

J Environ Monit. 2011 Oct;13(10):2703-9. doi: 10.1039/c1em10258c. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Abstract

Suspended solids either as total suspended solids (TSS) or suspended sediment concentration (SSC) is an integral particulate water quality parameter that is important in assessing particle-bound contaminants. At present, nearly all stormwater runoff quality monitoring is performed with automatic samplers in which the sampling intake is typically installed at the bottom of a storm sewer or channel. This method of sampling often results in a less accurate measurement of suspended sediment and associated pollutants due to the vertical variation in particle concentration caused by particle settling. In this study, the inaccuracies associated with sampling by conventional intakes for automatic samplers have been verified by testing with known suspended sediment concentrations and known particle sizes ranging from approximately 20 μm to 355 μm under various flow rates. Experimental results show that, for samples collected at a typical automatic sampler intake position, the ratio of sampled to feed suspended sediment concentration is up to 6600% without an intake strainer and up to 300% with a strainer. When the sampling intake is modified with multiple sampling tubes and fitted with a wing to provide lift (winged arm sampler intake), the accuracy of sampling improves substantially. With this modification, the differences between sampled and feed suspended sediment concentration were more consistent and the sampled to feed concentration ratio was accurate to within 10% for particle sizes up to 250 μm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geologic Sediments / analysis*
  • Particle Size
  • Rain
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*

Substances

  • Water Pollutants