Summary of Documentation that Describes Instrumentation and Field Methods for Collecting Sediment Data

In Reply Refer To:                                 October 8, 1992
Mail Stop 415


SUBJECT:  Summary of Documentation that Describes Instrumentation 
          and Field Methods for Collecting Sediment Data

Office of Surface Water Technical Memorandum No. 92.08 listed all 
Water Resources Division (WRD), Office of Water Quality (OWQ), and 
Office of Surface Water (OSW) memorandums issued since 1971 that 
pertain to sediment activities.  The present memorandum builds 
upon OSW Technical Memorandum No. 92.08 by summarizing 
documentation that describes instrumentation and field methods 
recommended for collection of sediment data.  Information 
contained in this memorandum should provide a reference for field 
personnel involved in collecting sediment data.  Subsequent 
memorandums will be issued that summarize procedures recommended 
for other aspects of sediment activities.



Instrumentation currently available for the collection of 
suspended sediment is summarized in Edwards and Glysson (1986), 
which was announced in OSW Technical Memorandum No. 88.17.  There 
are seven depth-integrating, three point-integrating, and two 
pumping samplers currently available from either the Federal 
Interagency Sedimentation Project or the Hydrologic 
Instrumentation Facility (HIF) for collecting suspended sediment 
samples.  Proper use of all samplers is described in Edwards and 
Glysson (1986).  Sampler characteristics are summarized in Edwards 
and Glysson (1986), Table 1.  Tables and text in "Guidelines for 
the collection, treatment, and analysis of water samples, 
U.S.JGeological Survey Western Region Field Manual, (Written 
communication, M.JA.JSylvester) provide concise, field-oriented 
information on proper use of suspended-sediment samplers.  It 
should be noted that this field manual has not received Director's 
approval.  Several errors, omissions, and/or inconsistencies have 
been noted between the manual and WRD policy and within the manual 
itself (see attached comments on "Guidelines for the Collection, 
Treatment, and Analysis of Water Samples, U.S. Geological Survey, 
Western Region, Field Manual").  Official WRD policy should be 
followed if any inconsistencies are found.  The field manual is 
printed on waterproof paper to maximize usefulness in the field.  
In addition to the references mentioned above, information on 
availability and proper use of suspended-sediment samplers is 
contained in the following U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 

WRD Technical Memorandum Nos. 76.07, "New suspended sediment--
water quality samplers" and  76.156T, "Suspended-sediment sampler, 

  Memorandum No. 76.07 announces the availability of the D-74 
  depth-integrating sampler.  Memorandum 76.156T reiterates that 
  the D-49 sampler was replaced by the D-74 sampler and lists 
  advantages of the D-74 over the D-49 sampler.

Quality of Water Branch (QWB) Technical Memorandum 77.03, "DH-75 
Suspended-sediment sampler"--

  Announces the availability of the DH-75 suspended-sediment 
  sampler, which was designed to sample under ice.  Versions 
  capable of holding both pint or quart plastic bottles are 
  available.  A version of this sampler capable of holding a half-
  gallon bottle was originally available.  The half-gallon 
  version, designated DH-75H, is no longer available due to the 
  large unsampled zone associated with it.  This problem was 
  alluded to in Memorandum No. 77.03.  The DH-75 is generally not 
  recommended for general use.  It should only be used under 
  freezing conditions.

WRD Technical Memorandum No. 77.151, "Removal of sediment samplers 
from controlled property"--

  Announces that sediment samplers costing less than $500 will no 
  longer be considered controlled property.

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 80.03, "P-61 and P-63 point-
integrating samplers"--

  This memorandum informs users that the P-61 and P-63 samplers 
  most commonly malfunction because water gets into the head 
  cavity and corrodes the plug and solenoid assembly.  The 
  memorandum describes how this can happen and what can be done to 
  avoid it.  A summary of operating procedures for the P-61 
  sampler is also attached to the memorandum.

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 81.02, "Operation and availability, 
D-77 water-quality sampler"--

  Announces availability of the D-77 sampler.  The D-77 sampler 
  uses a relatively large 3-liter plastic bottle that can be 
  autoclaved.  The design was chosen to allow a large volume, 
  depth-integrated sample for biological and chemical studies.  
  The memorandum describes the sampler design and recommended 

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 81.06, "Automatic pumping samplers--
Test of efficiency of Manning and ISCO samplers"--

  Transmitted a brief technical report written by the U.S. Forest 
  Service describing tests done on performance of Manning and ISCO 
  pumping samplers.  The report discusses the need to frequently 
 check the efficiency of pumping samplers.  The memorandum 
  indicates that sampler efficiency is generally reduced as the 
  concentration of sand-size material increases.

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 80.06, "Samplers:  color-coded 
nozzles for sediment samplers"--

  Announces use of color coded nozzles for sediment samplers.  
  Sediment samplers are now supplied with color-coded nozzles to 
  easily identify what nozzle should be used with a given sampler.

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 80.18, "Samplers--Problems with 
installation of plastic nozzles on samplers"--

  Warns against overtightening plastic nozzles when installing 
  them in sediment samplers, particularly the DH-48.

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 83.08, "Bag-type suspended-sediment 

  Announces a modification of the D-77 sampler, termed the bag-
  type suspended-sediment sampler.  The bag-type sampler can 
  collect samples at depths greater than 19 feet, which is 
  generally accepted as the maximum depth at which samples can be 
  collected isokenitically in rigid containers.  This is usually 
  referred to as the "compression-depth limit."  Memorandum 83.08 
  suggests four rules that should be followed when using the bag- 
  type sampler.  These rules should be followed closely, because 
  the sampler is prone to undersampling.


Epoxy coated versions of the D-77 and DH-81 samplers are available 
for collecting trace metal data.  However, recent experiments to 
identify sources and levels of contamination have brought 
traditional field methods and sampling equipment into question.  
Actions being taken by the OWQ to improve trace element sampling 
and to provide advice to field personnel are described in several 
recent OWQ memorandums:

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 91.10, "Dissolved Trace Element 

  Describes the present understanding, ramifications, and issues 
  that require resolution surrounding possible contamination of 
  dissolved trace-element data.

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.03, "Statement Regarding Dissolved 
Trace-Element Data Production Through Water Year 1991"--

  Provides a statement to be placed in State annual data reports 
  that warns that some trace-element data contained in the reports 
  might reflect sample contamination.  This memorandum was 
  replaced by OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.04 (see below).

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.04, "Revised Statement Regarding 
Dissolved Trace-Element Data Production"--

  Revises statement included in OWQ Technical Memorandum 

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.05, "Quality of Existing Dissolved 
Trace-Element Data"--

  Describes implications of OWQ Technical Memorandum 91.10.  Also 
  describes how the Division can deal with issues of uncertainty 
  in the validity and usefulness of existing dissolved trace-
  element data.

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.12, "Trace Element Concentrations 
in Deionized Water Processed Through Selected Surface-Water 
Samplers: Study Results and Implications"--

  Identifies levels of dissolved trace element contamination 
  associated with selected surface-water samplers.  Additionally, 
  concludes a cleaning procedure using acid is necessary for all 
  samples to be used in parts-per-billion protocols.

OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 92.13, "Trace Element Concentration: 
Findings of Studies on the Cleaning of Membrane Filters and 
Filtration Systems"--

  Summarizes results and conclusions from a series of experiments 
  emphasizing the cleaning of filters and filtration systems.  
  Also, compares dissolved trace element concentrations in 
  sequential rinses of three brands of filters.


Pumping samplers can be used where frequent samples are needed and 
conditions make manual collection of samples impractical.  In the 
past the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project has supplied 
two samplers, the US PS-69 and US PS-82.  Neither sampler is 
presently in stock.  US PS-69 samplers can be special ordered from 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station 
(WES) (contact Wayne O'Neal at 601/634-2624) at 3909 Halls Ferry 
Road, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  US PS-82 samplers have been 
phased out.  Some parts for both samplers are available from the 
Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project.  Electrical repairs on 
either the US PS-69 or US PS-82 samplers should be coordinated 
through the HIF at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.  
Mechanical repairs on either type of sampler should be coordinated 
through WES.  There are a number of automatic pumping-type 
samplers available commercially.  The Manning S-4050 and ISCO 1680 
are two that are commonly used by USGS personnel.  Edwards and 
Glysson (1986) list 17 criteria that should be met when operating 
pumping-type samplers.  Edwards and Glysson (1986) also describe 
installation and use of pumping samplers as well as how the 
"point" data collected by these samplers should be analyzed.


QWB Technical Memorandum No. 73.11 transmits "Falling-stream 
turbidimeters as a means of measuring sediment concentrations in 
streams," by H. P. Guy and R. C. Olson.  The memorandum and report 
discuss the use of turbidity as an indicator of suspended-sediment 
concentration.  Records of turbidity should only be used to 
provide an indication of variations in sediment concentration with 
time.  Any record of turbidity must be accompanied with actual 
samples of sediment concentration.


OSW Technical Memorandum No. 90.08 summarizes WRD policy issues 
relevant to bedload.  As pointed out in Memorandum 90.08, bedload 
samples can be collected wherever physical conditions permit.  OSW 
Technical Memorandum No. 90.08 lists 10 different samplers 
available for sampling bedload.  Four of those samplers have a 
nozzle expansion ratio of 3.22.  The other six have an expansion 
ratio of 1.40, which is the ratio accepted by the Technical 
Committee of the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Subcommittee.  
As pointed out in OSW Memorandum No. 90.08, samplers with a nozzle 
expansion ratio of 1.40 are presently recommended, although use of 
samplers with a 3.22 expansion ratio is acceptable.  OSW Technical 
Memorandum No.J90.08 supercedes OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 
76.04, 77.07, 79.17, and 80.07, as well as WRD Technical 
Memorandum No.77.60.


There are at least 17 different samplers available for sampling 
bed material.  Nearly all of those samplers are useful only for 
sampling material finer than 16 mm (Edwards and Glysson, 1988). 
Standard equipment is not available for sampling large bed 
material.  Indirect methods, such as the "pebble count" method 
used by Wolman (1954), are commonly used to estimate the grain-
size distribution of coarse bed material.  Edwards and Glysson 
(1986) and "Guidelines for the collection, treatment, and analysis 
of water samples, U.S. Geological Survey Western Region Field 
Manual, (Written communication, M. A. Sylvester) discuss commonly 
used bed material samplers.

                            FIELD METHODS


WRD Technical Memorandum No. 71.73 was issued to inform the 
Division that techniques adopted by the USGS for the collection 
and analysis of sediment samples are described in three Techniques 
of Water-Resources Investigations reports:

Book 3, Chapter C1 - "Fluvial Sediment Concepts" by H. P. Guy

Book 3, Chapter C2 - "Field Methods for Measurement of Fluvial 
Sediment" by G. Porterfield

Book 3, Chapter C1 - "Laboratory Theory and Methods for Sediment 
Analysis" by H. P. Guy.

Although there have been no additional Techniques of Water 
Resources chapters written to supersede any of the chapters 
mentioned in WRD Technical Memorandum No. 71.73, Open-File Report 
86-531 is essentially a replacement for Book 3, Chapter C2. Open-
File Report 86-531, which is presently being prepared for release 
as a Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations report, should 
now be used as the reference on field methods and measurement of 
fluvial sediment.  Field methods for collecting suspended-sediment 
samples are summarized in "Guidelines for the collection, 
treatment, and analysis of water samples, U.S.JGeological Survey 
Western Region Field Manual, (Written communication, M. A. 

In addition to the references mentioned above, guidance on 
collecting suspended-sediment samples can be found in several OWQ, 
OSW, and WRD memorandums, which are summarized below.


OWQ Technical Memorandum Nos. 76.17, 76.24-T, 77.01, 78.03 and 
80.17 contain information on use of the churn splitter for drawing 
representative subsamples from large composite samples.  However, 
information contained in these memorandums is somewhat vague and 
confusing.  For example, OWQ Technical Memorandum No. 76.17 states 
that "Samples for bacterial determination or for analysis of 
sediment concentration and particle size analyses should not be 
composited."  Memorandum 78.03 states that "sediment concentration 
and particle-size subsamples may be taken directly from the churn" 
when "essentially all particles are silt-size or smaller."  
Because it is difficult to tell in the field whether or not 
samples contain sand-sized particles, it is suggested that all 
sediment samples be collected in accordance with Water Quality 
Technical Memorandum No. 76.17, which states that "Samples ... for 
analysis of sediment concentration and particle size analyses 
should not be composited."  The churn splitter, therefore, should 
not be used for sediment sampling.  If samples must be split, it 
is best to use the cone splitter (see QWB Technical Memorandum 


Bedload samples can be collected wherever physical conditions 
permit.  OSW Technical Memorandum No. 90.08 summarizes WRD policy 
on bedload.  OSW Memorandum No. 90.08 also provides a background 
of bedload-related research done in the WRD, supplies guidelines 
on sampler selection, and summarizes methods used to collect and 
reduce bedload data.  A detailed description of methods used to 
collect and reduce bedload data is given in Edwards and Glysson 
(1986).  "Guidelines for the collection, treatment, and analysis 
of water samples, U.S. Geological Survey Western Region Field 
Manual," (Written communication, M. A. Sylvester) provides a 
field-oriented summary of methods used to collect bedload data.


Memorandums issued since 1971 provide guidelines for several field 
methods related to several different types of investigations:

QWB Technical Memorandum No. 72.10, "Sediment computations-- 
Conversion of suspended-sediment concentration from parts per 
million to milligrams per liter"--

  Contains a table for converting suspended-sediment 
  concentrations from parts per million to milligrams per liter.  
  The table attached to Memorandum 72.10 supercedes Table 1 in 
  Techniques of Water Resources Investigations, Book 5, Chapter 
  C1, p. 4.

QWB Technical Memorandum 81.16, "Report--A guide for predicting 
sheet and rill erosion on forest land, USDA Technical Publication 
SA-TP 11"--

  Informs Division personnel that demand for the report "A guide 
  for predicting sheet and rill erosion on forest land," USDA 
  Technical Publication SA-TP 11, September, 1980, has exceeded 
  supply of reports at the QWB.  The memorandum gives an address 
  for the Forest Service in Atlanta from whom additional copies 
  can be ordered.

WRD Technical Memorandum No. 83.79, "Collection and analysis of 
samples in connection with investigations of hydrologic effects of 
hazardous waste sites"--

  Presents WRD's commitment to train employees in the proper use 
  of equipment and techniques to insure safe collection, handling, 
  and analysis of samples in connection with studies of hazardous 
  waste sites.  Also, transmits a safety plan for WRD field 
  activities at hazardous waste sites.

OSW Technical Memorandum No. 87.07, which transmits the report 
"Pilot study for collection of bridge-scour data" and 89.10, which 
announces the availability of the report, "Use of surface-
geophysical methods to assess riverbed scour at bridge piers"--

  This memorandum and related report provides information relative 
  to the study of bridge scour.  Memorandum 87.07 transmitted 
  results of "Pilot Study for Collection of Bridge Scour Data" by 
  R. D. Jarrett and J. M. Boyle.  The Jarrett and Boyle report 
  provides information on how to collect data on scour around 
  bridge piers.  Memorandum 89.10 announced availability of "Use 
  of Surface-Geophysical Methods to Assess Riverbed Scour at 
  Bridge Piers," by S. R. Gorin and F. P. Haeni.  The Gorin and 
  Haeni report discusses the performance and characteristics of 
  four geophysical methods to define existing and previous scour 
  holes around bridge piers.


Edwards, T.K. and Glysson, G.D., 1988, Field methods for 
measurement of fluvial sediment:  U.S. Geological Survey Open-File 
Report 86-531, 118 p.

Wolman, M.G., 1954, A method of sampling coarse river bed 
material:  American Geophysical Union Transcript, V. 35, no. 6, 

                                 Charles W. Boning, Chief
                                 Office of Surface Water




Comments on "Guidelines for the Collection, Treatment, and 
Analysis of Water Samples, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Region, 
Field Manual."

1) Page 2--First paragraph-It should be mentioned that the OSW 
sets policy for sediment data-collection activities.

2) Page 10-11--Table 1-Several corrections are needed.  For 
example, the DH-81 can use a 1/8-inch nozzle, the maximum depth 
for the DH-81 is either 9 feet or 16Jfeet depending on the bottle 
size, and the D-74 with a 1/4-inch nozzle and pint bottle has a 
maximum depth of 9 feet.

3) Page 12--The DH-75 sampler was designed to be used under ice 
(see QWB Technical Memorandum 77.03).  This is not mentioned on 
page 12.

4) Page 12--The Federal Interagency Sedimentation Project 
currently only recommends use of 3/16- and 1/4-inch nozzles with 
the DH-81.  Filling rate problems have been identified using the 
5/16-inch nozzle.  The small opening of the 1/8-inch nozzle 
becomes frayed reducing sampling efficiency significantly.

5) Page 13--The D-77 has the same problems with the 1/8-inch 
nozzle mentioned above for the DH-81.

6) Page 13-14--It should be noted that the P-61, P-63, and P-72 
samplers are to be used when the stream depth exceeds 15 feet.

7) Page 15--The second paragraph from the bottom should state that 
a 1/8-inch nozzle should not be used when sand-sized particles are 
in suspension because a nozzle will start to exclude particles 
about one-half of its diameter.  In the case of the 1/8-inch 
nozzle, this would include particles about 1.5 mm in size.

8) Page 18--Table 2.  The HS-85 bedload sampler is not available.

9) Page 25--It should be noted that the EDI method is only valid 
if the concentration in the cross section is relatively uniform.  
If the concentration is not uniform, more than nine verticals may 
be needed.  The EWI method may be more desirable under these 
conditions.  Also, the manual does not mention that samples 
collected using the EDI method can be composited if the volume of 
samples from each vertical are nearly the same.  This, however, 
will cause information on lateral distribution of concentration to 
be lost.  Compositing samples also eliminates the possibility of 
detecting individual samples, which may not be representative.

10) Page 49--Second paragraph-statement here conflicts with 
statement on page 33 about use of the churn splitter.  See 
statements under the heading "Use of the churn splitter for 
collecting suspended-sediment samples" in the main body of this 
memorandum for guidance in use of sample splitters.