Palmer- Bowlus Flumes Disadvantages

If your business depends on accurately measuring flow, then you need to make sure that you have a flow measurement tool that is easy to use. When it comes to measuring wastewater, the two most popular tools are a Palmer-Bowlus flume or a Parshall flume. While both of these flumes can be extremely useful, they also have certain disadvantages, particularly the Palmer-Bowlus flume.

Before you install a Palmer-Bowlus flume in your wastewater operations, you should learn about a few of the reasons to avoid this common flow management tool. Here are a few disadvantages of the Palmer-Bowlus flume that should consider before choosing this tool for your operation.

What You See vs. What You Get

When you’re measuring wastewater flow, accuracy matters more than anything else. This means you need to know the exact measurements of your flow management device. Perhaps the biggest drawback of using a Palmer-Bowlus flume is that there is no proprietary design related to this flume.

Despite the fact that the basic design of the Palmer-Bowlus flume has been standardized, there can be large variances in flume dimensions depending on the manufacturer. This means it’s very easy to purchase a flume that is the wrong size for your needs. It’s imperative that you pay attention to the dimensions of whatever flume you are purchasing so that you’re getting the right tool for your job.

Flow Rates

When the Palmer-Bowlus flume was designed, it was created with the idea that it would always be used to measure a relatively constant flow rate. However, this meant that the minimum flow rate for Palmer-Bowlus flumes is much higher than you would find with other flume types. This poses two problems.

First, if your flow doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, it will reduce your flume’s functionality. Second, if your flow rate varies, you won’t be able to take the accurate readings that you need. Unless your flow rates are steady and meet the minimum requirement, you should choose a flume other than the Palmer-Bowlus.


In wastewater applications, the likelihood that your flume will need to pass solids must be considered. While certain flumes are designed in such a way that solids can pass through easily, the high minimum flow rates required by the Palmer-Bowlus flume can pose a very large problems when it comes to solid waste.

Palmer-Bowlus flumes lose a large amount of functionality when flow rates dip below a certain point. If you experience low flows in your system, and solid wastes are a possibility, it can cause your flume to become blocked. You should be sure to avoid using Palmer-Bowlus flumes if you expect your flow to contain solids.

Purchase the Right Flume

As you can see, there are several reasons that you should avoid the Palmer-Bowlus flume, particularly if you need to manage and measure wastewater flows. However, now that you know about the disadvantages of the Palmer-Bowlus flume, you can purchase a better flume option from Tracom, FRP.

Tracom offers a wide range of high-quality fiberglass flumes, and we can help you find the right tool for your flow management job. Contact Tracom today to learn more about our versatile, accurate products.