Various sampling strategies come into operation to monitor water quality in rivers. Most frequently, grab samples are taken, but they are not suitable for recording the highly dynamic transport of solids and solid-bound pollutants. Composite samples reduce the influence of input and transport dynamics and are better suited to determine the annual river loads. Large-volume samplers (LVSs) produce both a composite sample over a long period of time and an amount of solids which allows for further analyses. In the small sub-catchment area of the Kraichbach river in Baden-Wuerttemberg (Germany) two LVSs have been installed to sample the river flow. The concentration of solids and phosphorus in the supernatant water and the settled sediment in the sampler have been determined and mean concentrations have been derived. Annual river loads were calculated in combination with discharge data from the nearby gauging station. Two sampling strategies of the LVS were tested and compared. For the first strategy, the LVS was used to collect quasi-continuous composite samples throughout the year, whereas, with the second strategy, samples were taken specifically for different flow conditions (low, mean and high flow). This study compares the advantages and constraints of both strategies. Results indicate that the first strategy is better suited to determine annual river loads. Quasi-continuous large-volume composite sampling is recommended for further monitoring campaigns.
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