Located on the east bank of the Ohio River in Belleville, West Virginia at the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Belleville Locks and Dam, Belleville Hydroelectric is a municipality-owned, non-profit power plant.

Hydroelectric plants provide a clean and renewable source of energy, without emitting any standard atmospheric pollutants or contributing to global warming. Hydropower is the primary contributor of renewable energy in the United States and can be produced as long as rain falls and rivers flow. These plants also provide water management, flood control, and recreational benefits.

While the benefits of hydroelectric plants certainly outweigh the costs, their construction can be disruptive to surrounding aquatic ecosystems. Dissolved oxygen content of the water may change from pre-construction conditions. Water exiting from turbines is typically much colder than the pre-dam water, which can change aquatic faunal populations.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is an independent agency that licenses and inspects private, municipal, and state hydroelectric projects. NexSens Technology was selected to install and maintain real-time DO monitoring systems so plant employees can monitor levels of dissolved oxygen upstream and downstream of the plant, helping to meet FERC regulations.

Reliable measurement upstream and downstream

The DO monitoring systems have been maintained by NexSens Technology since 1999, and engineers later installed a real-time radio telemetry system. Servicing of the DO monitoring system is generally performed on a scheduled monthly to bi-monthly basis. More frequent visits are required in the summer months due to algae and mussel growth on the dissolved oxygen sensor. When sensor maintenance is required, the cartridge-based sensor is designed to be rebuilt in the field.

The NexSens N510 dissolved oxygen sensor provides cost effective, reliable oxygen measurements at the dam. The galvanic dissolved oxygen sensor uses a rugged five-millimeter Teflon membrane to resist mechanical abrasions and tears. The membrane serves as a barrier to allow molecular oxygen to diffuse into the reaction cell where it is reduced at the working electrode. This reaction produces a small current proportional to oxygen concentration.

The dissolved oxygen data is collected and sent via radio telemetry to a nearby PC, where it is stored in an iChart software database. iChart software allows Belleville Hydroelectric employees to quickly generate data analysis reports that are used to monitor the difference in temperature and oxygen levels before and after the dam for regulatory compliance. An annual report is submitted to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

By installing the real-time radio telemetry system and streaming data from the dam site to the NexSens WQData LIVE web datacenter, NexSens engineers can monitor the DO readings for changes or drift that may have been caused by unnatural means such as a torn membrane or clogged deployment pipe. Additional trips are scheduled as needed to minimize system downtime.


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.

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.