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Sediment Sampling Techniques,

Laboratory Analyses and their use

Parshu Ram Bogati

Hydro Lab Pvt. Ltd.
GPO Box 21093,
Kathmandu, Nepal

August 2017
Scope of the Lecture
Types of sediment and their
Suspended sediment sampling
Bed load and bed material sampling
Laboratory analyses and their use
Types of Sediment
Total sediment =
Suspended sediment + Bed (load) sediment

Suspended sediment is Bed load is the portion

a portion of total of total sediment that
sediment carried by is transported by flow
flow that is uplifted by in the form of rolling,
the fluids flow in the sliding, or skipping
process of sediment along the bed and
transportation close to it
Sediment Sampling

Suspended sediment Bed material sampling

Bed load sampling
Pump Instantaneous
sampling SS sampling Drag bucket type
Grab bucket type
Time integrating Vertical pipe type

Depth Basket type

integrating Pan type
Pressure difference type
Suspended sediment sampling
Principle of sample collection
To obtain a sample in such a way that the water-sediment
mixture moves with no change in velocity as it leaves the
ambient flow and enters the sampler intake. ie isokinetic
Critical step toward collecting a representative sample
Time Integrating Sampling
A. Depth Integrating B. Point integrating
A. Depth Integrating Sampling
To accumulate sample as they are lowered to the
stream bed and raised to the surface at a uniform

During transit, velocity in intake nozzle = local

stream velocity at all points in the vertical

Using depth integrating sampler

Depth Integrating Sampler
Depth-Integration Technique
Equal Width Increment (EWI) method

Equal-Discharge Increment (EDI)

Equal Width Increment (EWI) method
Cross section divided into (8-20) equal-width
Collect samples from the mid-point vertical in
each width increment
Composite all sub-samples for analysis
Depth-Integration Technique
Depth-Integration Techniques
Depth-Integration Technique
Equal Discharge Increment (EDI) method
Cross section divided into (4-9) equal
increments of discharge

Collect samples from the centroid vertical

of each discharge increment

Analyse samples individually or

Depth-Integration Techniques
Depth-Integration Technique
Time integrating sampler
B. Point integrating
To accumulate a sample at any selected point in a
Using point integrating sampler (HL adopt: hand
held type)
Hand-held Sampling
Sample Collection Procedure
Hand-held sampler/Depth integrating sampler
2 samples retrieved per day, additional samples
during high sediment concentrations
The samples should not be transferred from the
sampler to another bottle at site.
Gauge height, temperature, rainfall, river colour
Sample bottles sealed, water levels recorded,
transported in special boxes to the laboratory
All samples should be analysed within a time
frame of two weeks from the date of sampling
Pump Sampling
Pump of required suction is used
Sampling location is at fixed point for all sampling
Collected on container of certain size
Analyses of Suspended Sediment
Analyses of Suspended Sediment
Concentration Analyses
Filtration method
Evaporation method
Particle size distribution (PSD) Analyses
Fine sediment Hydrometer, bottom withdrawal
tube, pipette, X-ray, laser etc
Coarse sediment- Sieve analyses and Visual
accumulation tube method
Mineral content Analyses
Physical Under Binocular Microscope
Chemical By acid wash technique
Optical Under Petrographical Microscope
X-ray diffraction X - Ray Defractometer
Factors affecting results
Selection of sampling location

Sampling method adopted

Personnel used in the sampling

Analyses period

Analyses method adopted

Sampling Location
The sediment sampling location depends on
the requirement of the sediment

Overall sediment study (networking) or

A particular project study

Site Selection
Uniform flow
Well mixed flow
Ability to sample range of stages
Existence of background data
How to Select a Suitable Site
Walk over survey along the banks
Sampling site close to Gauging station
Downstream of rapids which provides
good mixing conditions for the
Accessibility of site in monsoon
(sampling, storage, transport etc.)
Upgrading of sampling site
Accuracy and reliability of data
Most important for correct sampling
Knowledgeable enough to understand
the principle of sampling (training)
Able to read and write and make good
Must be skilled, active and dynamic
Honest and trustworthy
Reliability & Accuracy

Reliability and accuracy of data collection

is equally important as the reliability and
accuracy of the laboratory analysis.

Too small samples tend to magnify errors

Too large samples may cause problems with
respect to drying and weighing
Quality Control
Standard Forms and Instructions are used
for quality control - maintains consistency
and accuracy
provide methodology and procedures for
the sampling, labelling and transporting
Field forms
For recording the necessary information

Reliable data depends on: Willingness to get wet

(interested), Training/Experience and Good equipment
Sampling Frequency

Generally dictated by the study approach

and level of funding

Pre-monsoon high frequency

Monsoon regular frequency
Dry season low frequency (once/week)

Regular frequency (2-3 times/day during monsoon)

Additional samples (beyond the regular frequency)
Situation in Nepal
Only a few projects used to conduct
regular sampling and their analyses
Some projects perform few samples
By their own techniques
Locations and methodology ???
Bed load and its sampling
Bed Load Measurement Sensor
Bed material sampling
Bed material is the portion of the sediment that is
transported by a stream that deposited at bed i.e
some portion of bed load and suspended load
Use of sediment data
Concentration Analyses

To know the amount of sediment in the river


at a time
Concentration, PPM


To calculate total suspended load


To design settling basin


To find out settling basin flushing time

To set cutoff limit of headworks operation












based on concentration
Sampling date
Use of sediment data
Particle size distribution
To know the particle size in the sediment and
their distribution
To design settling basin and its flushing
Use of sediment data
Mineral Content Analyses
To know percentage of hard mineral in the
river discharge
Input parameters to design turbine and
hydro-mechanical parts
Others (B)
33% Quartz

Others (A)
Sediment sampling in Himalayan rivers is difficult and
Sediment transport pattern in Himalayan river is
complex, fine clay to boulders of several tons move
along the rivers
Sediment load in the river varies largely from year to
Major part of the sediment load is transported in the
monsoon season
Generally high sediment concentration expected during
small pre monsoon floods
Reliable and consistent sediment rating equation is not
found for Himalayan Rivers
Operation of headworks with respect to sediment
exclusion can not be guided by water flow only
Contents of hard minerals in suspended load is high
Bed load transport rate is practically impossible to
A large quantity of sediment load may easily bypass a
sediment gauging station unmeasured if the sampling
frequency is poor
High sampling frequency over a period of several
years gives information on short term variations and
long-term trends
Guidelines and procedures need to be developed by
the Government and inforce for its implementation

Research and development program need to be


Basin-wise (sediment network stations) sediment

study need to be done

Awareness and importance on sediment

measurement and its effect to all stake holders

Use of long term sediment data must be mandatory

for the development of any water resource project