Specific conductivity sensor performance: II. Field evaluation

Travis P. Maupin, Carmen T. Agouridis, Dwayne R. Edwards, Christopher D. Barton, Richard C. Warner, Michael P. Sama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has issued guidance on the specific conductivity (EC25°C) of waters discharged from mined lands in the Appalachian Coal Belt Region of the USA. In this guidance, the USEPA states that these waters should have an EC25°C less than 300-500 μS cm-1. Such a requirement places great importance on accurately determining EC25°C. Building upon a laboratory-based evaluation of four types of commercially available continuous logging conductivity sensors, this study examined sensor performance in the more harsh and variable field environments at forested and mined land streams in eastern Kentucky. The objectives of this study were to calculate the white noise variance associated with each sensor type and to evaluate white noise variance in relation to variations in EC25°C and discharge. Results of the study indicate that predominant increases in EC25°C, and to some extent increases in discharge, explain between 35 and 65% of the white noise variance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-365
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Kristen McQuerry for her statistical assistance as well as Emma Witt and Matt Strong for their assistance in collecting the data. This project was funded by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (PON2 660 1000003368 1), Virginia Tech University and the ARIES Program (441693-19660A). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Virginia Tech University or the ARIES Program. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.


  • Appalachia
  • coal mining
  • conductivity
  • water quality
  • white noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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