Stream box monitoring Warm Springs Run flow
A piece of equipment the size of a contractor’s tool box was recently built on Warm Springs Run north of Berkeley Springs by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The box is a stream-monitoring tool that will track the height of water in the run and the water flow, particularly during storm events.
Equipped with an antenna to transmit hourly data and a solar panel to power the scientific instruments, the monitoring box will provide the USGS with stream information that will be used by several agencies. It was put into service on October 12.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is sponsoring the box, according toRon Evaldi, Assistant Director of USGS West Virginia Water Science Center.
The environmental agency is collecting stream data as part of their Chesapeake Bay initiative, which strives to detect and reduce harmful nutrient discharges into the bay from streams and rivers.
Water from Warm Springs Run flows into the Potomac River, which empties into the bay.
“It’s not necessarily just keeping an eye on Warm Springs Run,” Evaldi said of the box.
Instead, the run was selected because it is similar to many other small streams in the area, and could be representative of flows in those tributaries as well.
Some water quality testing will also be done by the instruments, so the monitoring unit was placed upstream from the local wastewater treatment plant, in order to get readings not distorted by sewer plant outflows.
Stream data is already available from the unit, though a baseline discharge rate is still being figured out, said Evaldi.
Daily flow and height data can be viewed on the USGS website for West Virginia on their Data Center link under “Stream Flow.” The Warm Springs Run unit is known as Station #01613030.