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Article

Measuring High Levels of Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity Using Small Unoccupied Aerial Systems (sUAS) Multispectral Imagery

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Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
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Department of Biosystems Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
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USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, Auburn, AL 36832, USA
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Department of Geosciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2020, 4(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030054
Received: 27 July 2020 / Revised: 2 September 2020 / Accepted: 4 September 2020 / Published: 8 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones in Geography)
Due to land development, high concentrations of suspended sediment are produced from erosion after rain events. Sediment basins are commonly used for the settlement of suspended sediments before discharge. Stormwater regulations may require frequent sampling and monitoring of these basins, both of which are time and labor intensive. Potential remedies are small, unoccupied aerial systems (sUAS). The goal of this study was to demonstrate whether sUAS multispectral imagery could measure high levels of total suspended solids (TSS) and turbidity in a sediment basin. The sediment basin at the Auburn University Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility was used to simulate a local 2-year, 24-h storm event with a 30-min flow rate. Water samples were collected at three depths in two locations every 15 min for six hours with corresponding sUAS multispectral imagery. Multispectral pixel values were related to TSS and turbidity in separate models using multiple linear regressions. TSS and turbidity regression models had coefficients of determination (r2) values of 0.926 and 0.851, respectively. When water column measurements were averaged, the r2 values increased to 0.965 and 0.929, respectively. The results indicated that sUAS multispectral imagery is a viable option for monitoring and assessing sediment basins during high-concentration events. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; sUAS; multispectral imagery; sediment basin; suspended sediment; total suspended solids; turbidity remote sensing; sUAS; multispectral imagery; sediment basin; suspended sediment; total suspended solids; turbidity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Prior, E.M.; O’Donnell, F.C.; Brodbeck, C.; Donald, W.N.; Runion, G.B.; Shepherd, S.L. Measuring High Levels of Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity Using Small Unoccupied Aerial Systems (sUAS) Multispectral Imagery. Drones 2020, 4, 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030054

AMA Style

Prior EM, O’Donnell FC, Brodbeck C, Donald WN, Runion GB, Shepherd SL. Measuring High Levels of Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity Using Small Unoccupied Aerial Systems (sUAS) Multispectral Imagery. Drones. 2020; 4(3):54. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Prior, Elizabeth M., Frances C. O’Donnell, Christian Brodbeck, Wesley N. Donald, George B. Runion, and Stephanie L. Shepherd. 2020. "Measuring High Levels of Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity Using Small Unoccupied Aerial Systems (sUAS) Multispectral Imagery" Drones 4, no. 3: 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030054

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