At four different sites along the Ohio River, American Municipal Power (AMP) Ohio is retrofitting old locks and dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to generate environmentally friendly hydropower. Many of these projects have broken ground over recent years, but the first to get underway was at Cannelton Dam, located along the Ohio River near Cannelton, Indiana.

The work broke ground in 2009 to retrofit the dam, and will eventually result in the diversion of water away from the existing dam and into bulb turbines that will generate around 458 million kilowatt-hours of energy once they get up and spinning. These are to be located on the Kentucky side of the river, near Hawesville.

Once work to build the installation is done, AMP Ohio project managers want to ensure that power generation can begin as soon as possible. Getting to that point requires a solid understanding of how the Ohio River’s dissolved oxygen and temperature levels, two parameters important for the survival of aquatic life, acted naturally before the construction of the hydropower plant.

To meet that need, AMP Ohio managers needed to track dissolved oxygen and water temperature levels along the stretch of the Ohio River. These would serve as part of a long-term dataset, and allow for comparison to data gathered in the future, after hydropower generation has begun.

AMP Ohio officials worked with NexSens Technology to source the equipment needed for the monitoring work, including gear like data loggers and sensors as well as web datacenter services.

Tracking Ohio River conditions

To sufficiently track conditions around the dam, AMP Ohio officials obtained two NexSens 3100-MAST Data Loggers. Each comes powered by solar panels and equipped with cellular telemetry for wireless data transmission to operators at the dam.

One of the stations is deployed upstream of the Cannelton Dam. Connected to this and mounted in a secure pipe in the Ohio River is a PONSEL DIGISENS Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor. The sensor uses optical technology for improved performance and reduced maintenance and features an integrated temperature sensor to track Ohio River temperatures and dissolved oxygen. The DIGISENS sensor stores calibration data internally so that project managers can easily calibrate it using field computers during visits to perform maintenance.

The second station is deployed downstream of the dam, where another NexSens 3100-MAST and PONSEL DIGISENS Optical DO Sensor work as a unit to capture the Ohio River’s fluctuations in temperature and dissolved oxygen around the clock.

Data from the loggers are sent to managers involved with the project in real time via cellular telemetry. The information is then published to a private WQData LIVE web datacenter where measurements can be viewed from anywhere with an Internet connection using a secure login.

Top image: Courtesy of American Municipal Power

X2 Environmental Data Logger

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.



NexSens MAST Aluminum Mounting Pole

The MAST is a 2″ NPT aluminum pipe assembly designed for mounting an X2 data logger and SP-Series solar power pack for quick deployment.



PONSEL DIGISENS Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor


The PONSEL optical dissolved oxygen sensor uses luminescence to determine dissolved oxygen levels and output data in a digital format.



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.