Water measuring instruments catalogit

Water Measuring Instruments

These three instruments are used to study the overall purity of bodies of water, such as the Hatchie River:


The Oxygen Meter is square and gray with three shiny adjustable dials to the right of the gauge containing a thin red needle. It measures the amount of oxygen dissolved in liquids. Water in lakes and rivers should have at least 5 milligrams of dissolved oxygen per liter. Lower oxygen levels stress plants and animals, and higher levels can quickly kill many of the fish. A balance of plants and animals in the water keeps the oxygen levels healthy.


The pH Analytical Measurements instrument looks like a flat black box with a large white face on the top half. The face shows a scale with pH numbers from 0 to 14, and a hand similar to a clock marks how acidic or basic the water is. Connected to the box with a long wire is a yellow and green pen-like probe that goes in the water. If the pH is above 9, then the water is basic and can be harmful to a fish’s gills and skin. If the pH is below 5, then the water is acidic and may be taken over by moss or algae blooms that can kill a multitude of species living in the water.


The Stevens Type-A Water Level Recorder is positioned next to a body of water, with its hanging cylinder float placed on the water’s surface. As the water level changes, it moves the float up or down. Inside the silver box above, a clock controls the rolling of a paper chart, and a pen attached to the float records its movement on the chart. The float rests in a stilling well, which is a pipe with small openings into the water so that waves do not jostle it.


Instruments such as these are used at a stream gauge, which is a station on a stream where the oxygen, pH, and water level can be measured. There are currently two stream gauges on the Hatchie River measuring stream height and flow.

West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center
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