A deep tensiometer is configured with an outer guide tube having a vented interval along a perforate section at its lower end, which is isolated from atmospheric pressure at or above grade. A transducer having a monitoring port and a reference port is located within a coaxial inner guide tube. The reference port of the transducer is open to the vented interval of the outer guide tube, which has the same gas pressure as in the sediment surrounding the tensiometer. The reference side of the pressure transducer is thus isolated from the effects of atmospheric pressure changes and relative to pressure changes in the material surrounding the tensiometer measurement location and so it is automatically compensated for such pressure changes.
This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223, now Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.