Implementation of CFD modeling in the performance assessment and optimization of secondary clarifiers: the PVSC case study

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The water industry and especially the wastewater treatment sector has come under steadily increasing pressure to optimize their existing and new facilities to meet their discharge limits and reduce overall cost. Gravity separation of solids, producing clarified overflow and thickened solids underflow has long been one of the principal separation processes used in treating secondary effluent. Final settling tanks (FSTs) are a central link in the treatment process and often times act as the limiting step to the maximum solids handling capacity when high throughput requirements need to be met. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) is interested in using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling approach to explore any further FST retrofit alternatives to sustain significantly higher plant influent flows, especially under wet weather conditions. In detail there is an interest in modifying and/or upgrading/optimizing the existing FSTs to handle flows in the range of 280–720 million gallons per day (MGD) (12.25–31.55 m3/s) in compliance with the plant's effluent discharge limits for total suspended solids (TSS). The CFD model development for this specific plant will be discussed, 2D and 3D simulation results will be presented and initial results of a sensitivity study between two FST effluent weir structure designs will be reviewed at a flow of 550 MGD (∼24 m3/s) and 1,800 mg/L MLSS (mixed liquor suspended solids). The latter will provide useful information in determining whether the existing retrofit of one of the FSTs would enable compliance under wet weather conditions and warrants further consideration for implementing it in the remaining FSTs.

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