A field experiment was conducted at the Levee 4 canal site below control structure G-88 in the Everglades agricultural area in northwestern Broward County, Florida, to study the relation of acoustic attenuation to suspended-solids concentrations. Acoustic velocity meter and temperature data were obtained with concurrent water samples analyzed for suspended-solids concentrations. Two separate acoustic velocity meter frequencies were used, 200 and 500 kilohertz, to determine the sensitivity of acoustic attenuation to frequency for the measured suspended-solids concentration range. Suspended-solids concentrations for water samples collected at the Levee 4 canal site from July 1993 to September 1994 ranged from 22 to 1,058 milligrams per liter, and organic content ranged from about 30 to 93 percent. Regression analyses showed that attenuation data from the acoustic velocity meter (automatic gain control) and temperature data alone do not provide enough information to adequately describe the concentrations of suspended solids. However, if velocity is also included as one of the independent variables in the regression model, a satisfactory correlation can be obtained. Thus, it is feasible to use acoustic velocity meter instrumentation to estimate suspended-solids concentrations in streams, even when suspended solids are primarily composed of organic material. Using the most comprehensive data set available for the study (500 kiloherz data), the best fit regression model produces a standard error of 69.7 milligrams per liter, with actual errors ranging from 2 to 128 milligrams per liter. Both acoustic velocity meter transmission frequencies of 200 and 500 hilohertz produced similar results, suggesting that transducers of either frequency could be used to collect attenuation data at the study site. Results indicate that calibration will be required for each acoustic velocity meter system to the unique suspended-solids regime existing at each site. More robust solutions may be defined in streams with suspended solids having lower percentages of organic composition.
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USGS Numbered Series
Feasibility of using acoustic velocity meters for estimating highly organic suspended-solids concentrations in streams