PROGRAMS AND PLANS - Use of Oil Cylinder to Prevent Freezing in Streamgaging Wells

January 28, 1977


WATER RESOURCES DIVISION MEMORANDUM NO. 77.49
Subject: PROGRAMS AND PLANS - Use of Oil Cylinder to Prevent Freezing in Streamgaging Wells

The Corps of Engineers has called our attention to the dangers that exist for introduction undesirable substances into a stream system by the use of oil or other hazardous substances in cylinders to prevent freezing of the float in a streamgaging stilling well. They further stated, “Since the Congress has declared that it is the policy of the United States that there should be no discharge of oil or other hazardous substance into or upon the waters of the contiguous zone (Section 311(b) (1) of Public Law 92-500), it seems inappropriate to use diesel fuel in the floatwells of gaging stations. Your consideration of alternate streamgaging mechanisms and methods is strongly urged.”

As soon as possible, each WRD office of to assess for each gaging station the danger that oil or other harmful substances may enter the stream system. For those sites where the danger is real, an alternate to the oil cylinder method of preventing freezing of the float should be used.

Some alternatives to oil cylinders for prevention of float freezing are: (1) insulation and frost barriers, (2) heaters, (3) bubbling of nitrogen under the float, and (4) use of bubble gages. Reports of any other successful alternatives should be sent to the Chief, Surface Water Branch.

/signed/
Thomas J. Buchanan
Assistant Chief Hydrologist
For Operations

WRD Distribution: A, B, S, FO, PO