Variability of Settling Characteristics of Solids in Dry and Wet Weather Flows in Combined Sewers: Implications for CSO Treatment
Four devices developed for measuring settling velocity distributions of combined sewer overflow (CSO) solids were applied to dry and wet weather flow samples from an urban area serviced by combined sewers (Welland, ON, Canada). The settling column-based methods (the Aston, Brombach and US Environmental Protection Agency columns) produced comparable results indicating minimal differences in settleability of dry and wet weather samples. The elutriation apparatus, which assessed settling velocities in a flowing medium, indicated higher settleabilities than the column methods. This was attributed to enhanced opportunities for particle coalescence in the flowing medium, which should better approximate actual sedimentation conditions. While the elutriation apparatus also indicated larger differences in settleabilities between dry and wet weather samples than the column methods, this difference was not statistically significant. Experimental distributions of particle settling velocities were approximated by a mathematical function, which was then used to estimate partial settling of total suspended solids (TSS) with settling velocities smaller than the clarifier overflow rate. The TSS removal target of 50%, which is applicable to CSOs in Ontario, could be met for overflow rates ranging from 4.7 to 6.8 m/h, for dry and wet weather flows, respectively, based on the average settling velocities measured. Experimental data collected in the study indicate that the design of CSO storage and settling facilities is affected, among other factors, by both the apparatus used to assess CSO settleability and the inter-event variability of CSO settling characteristics.
KeywordsCombined sewer overflow (CSO) Suspended solids Settling column Elutriation apparatus Settling velocity distribution
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