NRCS Pilot Project of the DeltaProbe Seepage Meter

NRCS has started a pilot project to test existing animal waste storage facilities for seepage using the DeltaProbeTM Seepage meter.  The DeltaProbeTM seepage meter is the result of an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to develop a device to quickly and directly measure seepage rates from waste storage ponds or lagoons.  The pilot project will assess the use of the equipment under a variety of regional, environmental and climatic conditions.

What did we do?

  • The DeltaProbeTM Seepage meter was developed in Michigan through an NRCS Conservation Innovation grant (CIG) with Nth Consultants, Ltd. and Abletech Industries, LLC.
  • NRCS purchased two seepage meters and trained six individuals to operate the device.  The device is used in conjunction with a weather station on site to collect data.
  • Standard Testing procedure has been developed.
  • Initial testing under the CIG was performed in Michigan. A pilot test was performed in Washington state on an HDPE lined waste storage facility during 2018.  Further testing was planned for the winter months of 2018, but the extremely high rainfall has precluded testing.

What we have learned?

DeltaProbeTM Seepage Meter

  • The equipment has the potential to provide “whole pond” testing of a waste storage facility overnight under suitable conditions.  The device can measure the change in the depth of water surface with a 95% confidence interval to the nearest 0.035 mm over a 25.4 mm range in 8 hours overnight.
  • Testing results in a snapshot of seepage rate under the conditions during the timeframe which the test is performed.
  • The equipment requires training for proper setup, use and to review the results of testing.

Future plans

  • Further testing will take place on waste storage facilities in North Carolina and Kansas in 2019.
  • Agricultural Research Service (USDA, ARS) will be providing a test of the equipment.


Sandra L. Means, Environmental Engineer, USDA-NRCS, National Animal Manure Nutrient Management Team, Greensboro, North Carolina.


Additional information




Rick Burns, Nth Consultants, Ltd

Mike Olson, PE AbleTech Industries, LLC

Bill Reck, National Environmental Engineer, USDA, NRCS.


The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.