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University of Louisville Stream Institute

Case Study

Urban Watershed Monitoring with Trapezoidal Flumes


Univeristy of Louisville - Stream Institute


The Stream Institute at the University of Louisville is an interdisciplinary applied research program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  The work of the Institue is primarily concerned with the mitigation of human effects on streams, wetlands, and watersheds. Research interests include stream and watershed assessment, natural channel design, stream and wetland restoration, stream ecology, aquatic and riparian habitat, among others.


The Stream Institute was to conduct an assesement of a local urban watershed and needed immediate assistance in developing a solution to accurately measure surface water flows in the study areas.  Flow measurement was made difficult due to the the large, flashy nature of the anticpated flows coupled with the relatively flat gradient of watershed area.  As the watershed is in an urban environment, there was a requriement that the devices be able to pass trash and other debris not typically encountered in watershed studies.

Trapezoidal flumes for urban watershed monitoring


Working initally with the Institute's consultant, EcoGro of Lexington and then later with the Institute itself, Openchannelflow was able to help rapidly narrow the device selection.  Initial focus was on V-Shaped Trapezoidal Cutthroat flumes due to their sensitivity at low flow rates and good soldis handling, but as the watershed model was futher refined, the decision was made to utilize 2-inch 30 CSU Trapezoidal flumes.  These flumes were fitted with 2-inch [5.08 cm] probe wells to allow the Institute to mount their pressure transducers and keep the probes out of the main flow stream (and away from prying eyes).  

Post sales support continues, with recent recommendations made on how to keep the pressure transducer wells free of ice under low flow / cold weather conditions.  Drawing on its years of experience, Openchannelflow was able to offer a number of concrete recommendations on how the Institute could proceed.

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