DesignClinic

Design of a Flow Measurement System for Avery Brook

Northampton Department of Public Works

Northampton Department of Public Works

2008-2009: In collaboration with the Northampton Department of Public Works (DPW), this student team designed an automated system to measure, record, and transmit stream flow data for Avery Brook, the main tributary into the primary water supply reservoir for the City of Northampton, MA.  The project was motivated by DPW staff who can use stream discharge data for resource planning and Smith researchers studying the area’s hydrology, geochemistry, and ecology.

The team conducted a hydrologic analysis of Avery Brook to determine peak flows and range of flows.  To accommodate these flows, the team designed a system that combines a v-notched weir for low flows and a Parshall flume for high flows; both the weir and flume are paired with pressure transducers to collect flow data.  The team selected a data box for collecting data, identified spread spectrum radio as the most suitable transmission process, and determined the power requirements for the site.  Deliverables to the DPW included construction drawings and specifications for the weir and flume, specifications for the pressure transducers and transmission devices, and a cost estimate for the electrical components.

Following permitting applications, the Northampton DPW oversaw construction of the final design, with funding from Smith College.