Integrating seepage heterogeneity with the use of ganged seepage meters

Donald O. Rosenberry

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 3:131-142 (2005) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2005.3.131

ABSTRACT: The usefulness of standard half-barrel seepage meters for measurement of fluxes between groundwater, and surface water is limited by the small bed area that each measurement represents and the relatively large associated labor costs. Standard half-barrel cylinders were ganged together to allow one measurement of the summed seepage through all of the meters, reducing labor cost and increasing the representative area of measurement. Comparisons of ganged versus individual-meter measurements at two lakes, under both inseepage and outseepage conditions, indicate little loss of efficiency resulting from routing seepage water through the ganging system. Differences between summed and ganged seepage rates were not significant for all but the fastest rates of seepage. At flow rates greater than about 250 mL min–1, ganged values were as low as 80% of summed values. Gangedmeter head losses also were calculated to determine their significance relative to hydraulic-head gradients measured at the field sites. The calculated reduction in hydraulic gradient beneath the seepage meters was significant only for the largest measured seepage rates. A calibration tank was used to determine single-meter and gangedmeter efficiencies compared to known seepage rates. Single-cylinder seepage meters required an average correction factor of 1.05 to convert measured to actual values, whereas the ganged measurements made in the tank required a larger correction factor of 1.14. Although manual measurements were used in these tests, the concept of ganging seepage cylinders also would be useful when used in conjunction with automated flowmeters.