Willow Island, West Virginia is a small community along the Ohio River. In 1978, it was probably best known as the location of a large, coal-burning power plant. But nowadays, the town has a future in hydropower.

American Municipal Power (AMP) Ohio, an electric utility company, has been financing the construction of a new hydroelectric facility that will use the Ohio River’s water to provide clean energy to the region. The company is retrofitting an existing structure owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Willow Island Locks and Dam.

Groundbreaking for the project took place in 2011 and work to complete the hydroelectric turbines and generators continues. Along with those efforts, project managers are concerned with getting hydropower generation up and running once construction is complete. That necessitates collecting background data on the river’s temperature and dissolved oxygen levels.

To gather those baseline measurements, officials at AMP Ohio worked with NexSens Technology to source the equipment needed for monitoring along the Ohio River. The gear included data loggers, sensors and web datacenter services.

Monitoring matters

In order to track conditions around the dams, AMP Ohio officials sourced two NexSens Data Loggers. Each of these is powered by solar panels and equipped with cellular telemetry for wireless data transmission to operators as measurements come in.

One logger is deployed upstream of the dam. Connected to this and mounted in a protective pipe in the Ohio River is an Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor. The sensor uses optical DO technology for improved performance and reduced maintenance. It features an integrated temperature sensor to track Ohio River temperatures in addition to dissolved oxygen. This sensor stores all calibration data internally so technicians can easily calibrate the probe using a field computer during periodic maintenance visits.

A copy of the setup is also deployed downstream of the dam, where another NexSens logger and Optical DO Sensor work together to capture the Ohio River’s temperature and dissolved oxygen levels.

Taken together, data from the two loggers are sent to those involved with the project in real time via cellular telemetry. They are then published to a private WQData LIVE web datacenter where managers can view them from anywhere with a login.



G2-INW Water Level & Quality Monitor

The NexSens G2-INW provides live data access to Seametrics (formerly INW) Smart Sensors. Included solar power pack and integral cellular system provide real-time data and notifications.

Seametrics DO2 Dissolved Oxygen Logger

Seametrics’ DO2 is an optical dissolved oxygen sensor with built-in data logger for unattended DO monitoring applications.

NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter

WQData LIVE is a web-based project management service that allows users 24/7 instant access to data collected from remote telemetry systems.