7 Tips to Fight Fouling and Extend Sonde Deployments | Tip #6

This past month, we have been talking about various ways to tackle the common issue – biofouling. Let’s end this week with tip #6.

This blog series will focus on helping you by providing tips on how to fight fouling and how to collect the highest quality data over the course of a long-term water quality sonde deployment. Using a combination of our suggestions, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the frequency your team must travel to field sites to clean and maintain sondes and water quality sensors.

Tip #6

Don’t Neglect the Field Site Infrastructure!

The way you prepare your sonde before deployment is an important step in ensuring you can prolong the Tip-6-7Tips-EMS-Blog-v2collection of quality data for as long as possible but it is just as important to consider the deployment site. A well prepared and fouling protected sonde may last a month or more in a harsh environment but if you place it in a deployment location that has not had any protection applied to it you may be wasting your time.

The tube or pipe you place your sonde into should also be protected and maintained in much the same manner your sonde is.

You may need to apply anti-fouling paint to your deployment tube which is used to protect the sonde during deployment.

In addition you will likely need to clean the inside of the pipe. This is often achieved with a brush with a long handle or by removing the pipe periodically so it can be serviced.

An example of this is a customer call our technical support team took once:

A customer who was having problems with his dissolved oxygen probe contacted a member of our team. The probe calibrated fine and also passed post deployment calibration checks. The problem was when it was deployed and taking measurements and the dissolved oxygen readings would drop near zero. After going through some basic troubleshooting, our technical support representative and the customer, talked about the deployment site and we asked about the maintenance on the pipe the sonde was deployed in.

The person informed us they had never serviced the sonde deployment pipe.

We asked him to go to the site and look at the readings while the sonde was still in the pipe. Then take the sonde out and put it back in the water next to the pipe and see if the readings were any different. He called our team back a few days later and sure enough once he placed the sonde next to the pipe instead of in it the readings went up to the dissolved oxygen levels he was expecting. They removed the pipe and found that all of the holes they had cut into it to allow water to flow through were covered with organisms and when the sonde was inserted it was creating some water exchange causing the dissolved oxygen to go up initially but as the sonde sat there and the water became stagnant, the DO began to drop and he was basically measuring the water quality of the micro environment inside the pipe. Once the pipe was serviced and the sonde was put into place the problems with the DO disappeared. So this is a very good example of what can happen when we only focus on prepping our sonde and forget about the actual deployment site.

A few other things to think about regarding the deployment site to help prolong your deployment:

  1. If you are using a solar panel to charge a battery which powers your site, make sure the solar panel is pointing in the right direction of course and it’s kept clean of branches and leaves as well as the most common type of fouling which is bird droppings.
  2. Make sure the site you pick is as easily accessible as possible. If you can choose a site which doesn’t require a boat, a 2 mile hike, or other special accommodations to visit it then choose that route. If it’s easier to access then it automatically makes it easier to service which helps to extend the deployment time. 

Here’s a link to a handy website which has great information and documentation for you to use as reference to help you choose and setup your deployment site.

  1. Home page:  http://www.watersensors.org/
  2. Field Deployment page:  http://www.watersensors.org/fielddeploy.html
  3. Field Deployment Guide: http://www.watersensors.org/pdfs/ASW-Field-Guide-Rivers-web.pdf

Next, our final tip, Tip #7 – Use Telemetry to Keep an Eye on Your Field Site.

Coming soon.

A huge thank you to YSI Product Manager, Brandon Smith, YSI Marketing Specialist, Patrick Beatty, YSI Technical Support Team Lead, Tom Moeggenberg and YSI Application Engineer, Tiffany Shirmer for providing the information found in this post.

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Additional Blog Posts of Interest: 

7 Tips to Fight Fouling and Extend Sonde Deployments | Tip #5

7 Tips to Fight Fouling and Extend Sonde Deployments | Tip #4

7 Tips to Fight Fouling and Extend Sonde Deployments | Tip #3

7 Tips to Fight Fouling and Extend Sonde Deployments | Tip #2



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