Filtering with a Drill Pump: An Efficient and Cost Effective Method to Collect Suspended Sediment and Filtrate

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of the American Water Resources Association






American Water Resources Association

Publication Date


Award Number

NSF, Office of Integrative Activities 1208732


NSF, Office of Integrative Activities

First Page


Last Page



Water quality monitoring programs across multiple disciplines use total suspended solids (TSS), and volatile suspended solids (VSS), to assess potential impairments of surface water and groundwater. While previous methods for instream filtering have been developed, the need for rapid, cost-effective, high volume sampling has increased with the need to verify and supplement data produced by sondes and instantaneous data loggers. We present an efficient method to filter water instream with a portable drill pump that results in reduced sample processing time, and potentially reduced error associated with sample transportation, preservation, contamination, and homogenization. This technical note outlines the advantages of filtering instream vs. in the laboratory. It also compares TSS and VSS concentrations filtered with a drill pump vs. standard filtration methods with a vacuum pump as outlined by USEPA methods 160.2 and 160.4. Samples were collected at 4 sites and filtered in the field, or transported to the laboratory and filtered within 12 or 24 h of collection. Overall TSS and VSS samples filtered instream with a drill pump vs. in the laboratory produced similar concentrations with a similar range in variability for each method. Sample filtering with a drill pump decreased processing time by five minutes per sample.


Errata corrected in another issue with the following text: "The specifications for the pump model and tubing are incorrect. The pump model should be: Masterflex Standard pump head Model 7015-00, Cole-Parmer Instrument Company, LLC, Vernon Hills, Illinois. The tubing should be: Geotech Environmental silicone tubing L/S 15 part # 87050000, Geotech Environmental Equipment, Denver, Colorado."

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