Three lamella settlers were monitored over a period of 4 years. The main objective was to determine removal efficiencies for total suspended solids and associated pollutants. For this purpose a new sampling method based on large volume solid samplers was developed allowing a detailed analysis of solids. With regard to total suspended solids the average removal efficiency of the plants range from 49 to 68%. Similar values could be achieved for phosphorus and heavy metals mainly because of the high portion of fine particles in treatment plants' influent. A clear dependency between solid removal efficiency and the parameters maximum surface load and influent concentration could be observed on a single event basis. The aggregation of all findings result in a recommended maximum design surface loading rate (SLR) of 4 m/h. A solid removal rate of 50%, which is defined as minimum long-term efficiency, can be achieved safely at this SLR. In addition to the definition of the maximum SLR, a proper dissipation of the inflow energy and an equal collection of the clear water above the lamellas turn out to be essential.