Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Total Suspended Solids (TSS) analysis provides an initial and very basic measure for study and characterization of water quality. The present tedious procedures used for the identification of different solids constituents present in TSS and for the classification or insight into the origins of those solids are time-consuming and expensive. The research reported herein investigates the use of instrumental analysis using reflectance spectra of TSS as an attractive alternative to sufficiently characterize and identify TSS in a more rapid and economical method that could be used to study TSS transport and to identity TSS points of origin. For this investigative research, three and four constituent suspended solid mixtures were made up of silt and various clays which were suspended in pure water and then captured on standard glass fiber filter. The captured mixtures of solids were spectrally scanned using a digital spectrophotometer for determination of reflectance intensities at numerous wavelengths within the visible light range. Significant differences between the visible spectral reflectance data in three-constituent and four-constituent mixture experiments were suitably distinguishable to allow for sufficiently accurate determination of the percent composition of the suspended solids that were present. The overall average Standard Error of Prediction (SEP) for all constituents in each model was less than six percent for the three-constituent analyses and less than five percent for the four-constituent analyses. The strong point of this research is that the SEP results of the three completely separate statistical models are all very similar and are in close agreement with one another. The results of this research suggests that spectral imagery of TSS may be useful as a water quality monitoring method for a quick, easy, and economical estimation of TSS present in water and for possible tracking of solids back to their points of origin. This research is a significant, initial step in achieving the ultimate goal of tracking suspended pollutants using spectral signatures and represents an early stage in the development of spectral reflection signatures as a tool for rapidly and easily characterizing the sources and properties of TSS in evaluating water quality.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Donald Dean Adrian