How to Stabilize a Flume in an Earthen Channel


Flumes can be installed in a variety of different flow channels, but flumes in earthen channels can be particularly difficult to work with. Unlike manufactured channels, earthen channels are far more vulnerable to natural forces that can shift your flume and reduce the accuracy of your measurements. Learn how to stabilize a flume in an Earthen channel, and discover what it takes to maintain these devices.

Problems in an Earthen Channel

The traditional method of utilizing an earthen channel for a flume involves an excavation followed by packing and installing the flume itself. After installation, the excavated material is then backfilled to keep the flume secure. When you’re trying to ensure stabilization, however, it’s often a bit more complicated than simply filling the excavation dirt back in.

Quite a few problems can arise during the installation process and afterwards. If the surrounding soil is soggy, it can erode quite easily from the surrounding elements or from the flow itself. When the soil erodes, the flume can shift as it becomes less secure rendering your measurement efforts effectively useless.

Timber Pier Solution

One of the most prominent solutions to earthen channel destabilization is the timber pier solution. With this method, the site is not only excavated for the flume itself but for timber piers as well. These timbers are placed on the flume’s ends as well as underneath the throat to ensure everything is properly supported and in place correctly.

In some cases, the timber piers need to be quite extensive. It’s not entirely uncommon to need extra piers in the downstream and upstream sections to keep the channel conditions suitable for flow rate measurement. Even the inlet and outlet wing walls may be made from additional timbers to keep the channel better protected against the elements. Problems with this can arise, however, with wood being vulnerable to rot, insects, and spike pull.

Precast Concrete Base Solution

The other solution is to implement a precast concrete base into your earthen channel. This concrete pad is wire reinforced and threaded with steel rods. These rods are then connected to the flanging at the top of the flume that will have holes drilled in for the rods specifically. If the flume uses side anchor clips instead, they can be an alternative connection for the rods.

When you use this solution, you’ll have to consider the base in your installation. The pad itself must be completely leveled with tightly packed and even earth underneath. Several trenches need to be cut as well for additional anchoring. The anchor boards, typically made from fiberglass, offer additional stabilization. Plus, these boards can minimize bypass and undercut ensuring the entire flow goes through the flume channel.

Flumes from Tracom

With how to stabilize a flume in an earthen channel in mind, it’s time to get a flume of your own. That’s where Tracom is happy to help. Our experts will work with you to make sure your flume works well with your open channel flow and can offer accurate measurements with as little maintenance as possible. Contact us today to get started!

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