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Comparison of turbidity sensors at U.S. Geological Survey supergages in Indiana from November 2018 to December 2021

July 18, 2023

Beginning in September 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey installed continuous water-quality monitors at several streamgages across Indiana as part of a network of supergages to meet cooperator information needs. Two types (or models) of water-quality monitors deployed at each site measured and recorded water temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, pH, and turbidity every 15 minutes during the study period. Associated discrete water samples were collected at regular intervals and analyzed for concentrations of suspended sediment and total phosphorus. Surrogate regression models were developed between the continuously measured turbidity values and turbidity values in the associated samples to compute continuous concentrations and loads of suspended sediment and total phosphorus. Starting in November 2018, the original extended deployment system monitors were replaced with the newest model of multiparameter water-quality monitors and were equipped with turbidity smart sensors because the older monitors were phased out of production. The updated monitor and smart sensor yield different but relatable turbidity values.

Turbidity data collected concurrently by the two sensors from November 2018 to December 2021 were compared and analyzed to quantify the relation between them at six supergage sites in northwestern Indiana and one site in the town of Zionsville in central Indiana. Ordinary least squares regression was used to calculate site-specific conversion factors so that turbidity data from the newer monitors can be used in published surrogate models based on the older monitor data. Regression analyses explained approximately 98 percent of the variation in turbidity readings between the two sensors. From these analyses, conversion factors were developed that may be applied to older turbidity readings to calculate near real-time concentrations of phosphorus and suspended sediment.

Publication Year 2023
Title Comparison of turbidity sensors at U.S. Geological Survey supergages in Indiana from November 2018 to December 2021
DOI 10.3133/sir20235077
Authors Madelyn L. Messner, Mary Kate Perkins, Aubrey R. Bunch
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2023-5077
Index ID sir20235077
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center