dissolved oxygen monitoring damThe Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a governmental agency that looks to protect and improve the quality of life for the state’s citizens through managing Oklahoma’s water resources. That mission is achieved through many means, including providing financial assistance where needed, granting permits and monitoring water quality in reservoirs.

One dissolved oxygen monitoring application that the Resources Board oversees takes place in the tailraces of hydroelectric dams. There are three of these, all under the umbrella of the Grand River Dam Authority, which surround Grand Lake and Lake Hudson.

As part of the Resources Board’s mission to manage Oklahoma’s water resources responsibly, minimizing impacts to aquatic life in these lakes from hydroelectric dams is an important concern. To do that, the Board has set up real-time telemetry stations armed with water quality sondes for dissolved oxygen monitoring. This is important for safeguarding organisms that depend on healthy dissolved oxygen levels to survive.

Monitoring tailraces with data loggers

dissolved oxygen monitoringAt the bases of the two dams, project managers with the Resources Board have installed NexSens iSIC Data Loggers. These are equipped with cellular telemetry for transmitting dissolved oxygen monitoring data and can be powered via solar panels or AC plug-in.

Connected to the loggers and mounted securely in deployment pipes are YSI Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sondes. These are stationed in the tailraces below each dam, where water flows through at controlled intervals. Equipped with probes for monitoring temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen, the sondes provide data critical for managing water quality and effects to aquatic life downstream of the tailraces.

The NexSens iSIC Data Loggers collect the readings from the YSI sondes and transmit them to those managing water discharges from the dams every 15 minutes. From there, an alert system notifies all interested parties when dissolved oxygen levels drop below a certain threshold so that mitigation releases can be employed to raise DO levels as needed.

Photos courtesy of the Grand River Dam Authority


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