In 2011, the Brushy Creek watershed in Kentucky was not meeting its designated uses under the Clean Water Act. To find out what conditions were holding it back, scientists at the University of Louisville’s Stream Institute launched monitoring equipment to gauge its water quality in real time.
There were discrepancies between sampling data gathered with handheld meters and those collected by permanent stations that needed to be resolved. In addition, researchers wanted to make sure that dissolved oxygen levels stayed within healthy ranges according to state surface water standards.
Some of the impairments that the creek was suffering included aquatic habitat that was too warm. Oxygen levels also experienced summertime drops that made conditions poor for some fish species.
Sondes in the stream
Five YSI 600OMS Optical Monitoring Sondes were mounted in deployment pipes along the creek, collecting information on water temperature, conductivity and turbidity. They logged data points every 15 minutes to give scientists consistent and regular views of stream health.
In addition to the 600OMS optical monitoring sondes, a YSI Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde was deployed to provide a broader range of measurements on Brushy Creek. These covered water quality parameters like temperature, conductivity, turbidity, pH and dissolved oxygen.
All monitoring equipment interfaced with a NexSens Data Logger equipped with cellular telemetry that recorded data and transmitted findings to a website that let scientists view stream conditions remotely. That capability helped maintain the network, as researchers could easily see when one of the sondes needed to be serviced.
The NexSens X2 Environmental Data Logger offers the latest in real-time monitoring technology with wireless communication, large plug-and-play sensor library, and ultra-low power consumption.
The YSI 600OMS V2 measures dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, blue-green algae, or rhodamine in a low-cost package.
The YSI EXO represents the next generation of water quality instruments from YSI. The EXO2 sonde includes six sensor ports and a central anti-fouling wiper option.