Flumes in Earthen Channels

There is a wide range of applications where one could use a flume. However, one of the most common uses is measuring a flow in earthen channels. While a flume is the most effective tool for measuring earthen channel flow, these channels pose certain difficulties that would not generally be found in industrial applications.

For example, flumes in earthen channels have a high risk of experiencing both flow by pass and downstream scour, both of which can negatively impact the success of your operation. Here are a few facts about flumes in earthen channels, as well as advice for purchasing the tools for your flow management needs.

Flow Bypass

When using a flume in an earthen channel, there are several risk factors that you should be prepared to encounter. For instance, it’s extremely common for flumes in earthen channels to experience a phenomenon known as flow bypass. Flow bypass, as you might expect, is when a certain amount of the flow escapes the flume, usually along the sidewalls or underneath the flume.

Flume bypass poses several problems. First, it causes the flow readings taken from your flume to be lower than the actual flow rate. Second, the flow that bypasses your flume can erode the earthen channel, often worsening the bypass and potentially displacing your flume. Preventing flow bypass in earthen channels is one of the most important things that you can do if you want to maintain the success of your operation.


While flow bypass is the largest risk of using flumes in earthen channels, it is by no means the only hazard of this flow management application. Another common threat when using flumes in earthen channels is something called downstream scour.

Downstream scour occurs when the flow exiting your flume and reentering the earthen channel is more energetic than normal. This results in the rapid erosion of the earthen channel downstream of your flume, and may eventually cause the flume to shift out of place.


Now that you know about two of the biggest risks of using flumes in earthen channels, it’s a good idea to examine potential solutions for flow bypass and downstream scour. Generally, the best way to combat these issues is to add a geotextile skirt to your flume when it is being installed in the channel. This skirt should prevent the majority of flow bypass and manage the energy of your flow to limit scour.

Sometimes, a geotextile skirt will not completely eliminate flow bypass. In these circumstances, you may need to excavate upstream of your flume. While this increases the labor costs of your installation, it will stop bypass and preserve the accuracy of your readings.

Install Flumes in Earthen Channels

When you need to measure flow in an earthen channel, your best solution is to use a flume. Despite the risks of flow bypass and downstream scour, flumes are still one of the most accurate flow measurement tools in existence. If you’re ready to install flumes in earthen channels, you need to make sure you have the highest quality flumes possible by shopping with Tracom, FRP.

By shopping with Tracom, you’ll have access to a wide range of fiberglass flow management products, including flumes. Contact us today to learn more about the Tracom catalog.