Officials still working on issues with river gauge

MARIETTA — The U.S. Geological Survey’s West Virginia Water Science Center is still assessing why the river gauge and sensor at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers failed on Feb. 22.

Jeremy White, a supervisory hydrology service technician for the center, said Friday that there is still no firm explanation as to what caused the sensor to misread water levels.

On Feb. 23 the U.S.G.S. confirmed with Marietta officials that the permanent gauge was reading 2.6 feet below what the actual river levels were and placed a temporary sensor to 30 feet to gauge river levels throughout that weekend.

White said the temporary sensor placed on Feb. 23 is still in place and accurately reading water levels on the Ohio River and was lowered this week to 24 feet to continue readings.

“For now the data that’s coming from the temporary one is reliable,” he said, noting a plan to lower the sensor as the river levels continue to drop. “Right now (the river) is still too high to get close to the existing sensor that sits at about 12 feet.”

Further diagnosis will be reported as the USGS determines the cause of the failure, he said.

“We don’t want to have to install something on the (Williamstown) Bridge,” White added.