Principles of Dye Dilution

Dye dilution is a generic term that is based on the principles of fluorimetry. The combination of a fluorometer and fluorescent dyes forms a tracer system that is the basis of dye dilution investigations. Dye dilution methods involve the injection of a fluorescent dye tracer (typically Rhodamine WT) into a receiving body of water and measurement of fluorescence at a location further downstream. Flow rate at the downstream station can be determined by a mass balance which reduces to the ratio of concentrations of the injected and recovered tracer multiplied by the injection rate. Dye dilution flow rate measurements are typically accurate to 2%. Our proven procedures use a modified verion of the ISO standard 9555-1:1994

Typical Dye Dilution Applications

  • Calibrate flow meters, weirs and flumes in-situ.
  • Develop rating curves for natural streams.
  • Determine the efficiency of inverted siphons.
  • Measure stream and conduit flow.
  • Lift station / pump curve calibration.
  • Hydraulic turbine performance testing.
  • Determine inflow and infiltration.
  • Determine actual residence times in sedimentation and chlorine contact tanks.
  • Determine effluent outfall plume propagation.

Services We offer.

Our staff have over fifteen years of dye dilution, flow meter installation, calibration and maintenance experience. We offer expert technical assitance in:

  • In-situ flow meter calibration/verification by dye dilution or other techniques.
  • Training programs and consulting on dye dilution and flow monitoring techniques.
  • Flow meter audits - meter type, age, location, suitability for calibration, data management.
  • Calibration of secondary instrumentation.
  • Development of a meter calibration and replacement strategy.


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