Characterization of the potential impact of retention tank emptying on wastewater primary treatment: a new element for CSO management

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Theoretical studies have shown that discharges from retention tanks could have a negative impact on the WWTP's (Wastewater Treatment Plant) effluent. Characterization of such discharges is necessary to better understand these impacts. This study aims at: (1) characterizing water quality during emptying of a tank; and (2) characterizing the temporal variation of settling velocities of the waters released to the WWTP. Two full-scale sampling campaigns (18 rain events) have been realized in Quebec City and laboratory analyses have shown a wide variability of total suspended solids (TSS) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) concentrations in the water released from the tank. Suspended solids seem to settle quickly because they are only found in large amounts during the first 15 min of pumping to the WWTP. These solids are hypothesized to come from the pumping in which solids remained after a previous event. When these solids are evacuated, low TSS containing waters are pumped from the retention tank. A second concentration peak occurs at the end of the emptying period when the tank is cleaned with wash water. Finally, settling velocity studies allowed characterizing combined sewer wastewaters by separating three main fractions of pollutants which correspond to the beginning, middle and end of emptying. In most cases, it is noticed that particle settling velocities increase as the pollutant load increases.

Keywords: combined sewer overflow, integrated urban wastewater system, retention tank, settleability characteristics, stormwater, wastewater fractionation

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