GOING THE DISTANCE: PRIMARY SLUDGE PUMPING

H Walmsley 1, 2, G Modulon 1, 2, W Schmiedte 1, 2, D Taylor 1, 2
1. GHD Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW, Australia
2. 4Malabar Alliance, Sydney, NSW, Australia

ABSTRACT
The composition of primary wastewater sludge is
determined by a number of factors which vary
significantly between treatment plants. Composition
in turn affects sludge rheological properties that
govern flow behaviour. In the design of pumped
sludge transfer systems, rheology testing should be
carried out on relevant sludge samples, if available,
to increase the confidence in the input parameters
used for friction loss calculations.
The accuracy of friction loss calculations to inform
pump selection becomes more critical since a slight
variation in calculated friction loss, and in turn
required pump head, will be amplified as the
transfer distance increases. During the design
phase for the project, the variance between friction
loss calculations using a number of theoretical
models led to in-situ pressure testing. Pressure test
results were used to validate the Herschel-Bulkley
model as the most appropriate method for pipe
friction loss analysis for primary sludge at Malabar
Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Bingham plastic
model was also found to be comparable.
INTRODUCTION
Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant (Malabar
WWTP) is located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs,
around 15 km south east of the city. Commissioned
in the early 1970’s, it is Sydney Water’s largest
wastewater plant with a peak wet weather flow of
1,300 ML/d.
Sydney Water is partnering with John Holland,
United Group Limited and GHD to form the
4Malabar Alliance, to deliver the Malabar Process
and Reliability/Renewals (PARR) Improvement
Project. The project aims to:


Improve the safety and working conditions at
the WWTP
Reduce operating costs by more efficiently
operating and controlling the WWTP, and
reducing manual intervention
Ensure
the
plant
complies
with
its
environmental protection licence
Improve biosolids product quality

Improve the operational conditions, by
providing appropriate process capability,
reliability and operability of equipment.

Malabar WWTP is a primary treatment plant,
consisting of six coarse and fine screens, four
aerated grit tanks and six primary sedimentation
tanks. Primary effluent is discharged via a deep
ocean outfall, 3.6 km offshore at a depth of
approximately 80 m. At Malabar, each primary
sedimentation tank has a dedicated primary sludge
pump (“the pumps”) which transfers sludge via a
single rising main to one of three digesters for
stabilisation. The capacity of the existing pumps to
satisfy operational requirements of the upgraded
plant was reviewed as part of the PARR
improvement project.
The six existing primary sludge pumps are
horizontal, end suction, belt-driven centrifugal open
impeller type slurry pumps (Warman model TC 4/4
units) with a relatively low pumping efficiency of 20
to 30%. The nominal duty point of the units is 30 L/s
at 40 m head. Primary sludge is transferred via a
505 m long mild steel rising main (consisting of 170
m of DN150 and 335 m of DN250) to the furthest
digester. Scum from the primary sedimentation
tanks is also collected and transferred into the
primary sludge rising main intermittently at 30 L/s.
The current system pumps sludge between 2.5%
and 3.5% total solids residual (TSR) at
approximately 20 - 25 L/s.
The behaviour of primary sludge is affected by the
total solids residual (TSR) of the sludge. In turn, a
change in TSR impacts on the operation of the
sludge pump. As the TSR increases, the system
pressure (for a given flow) also increases. The
existing centrifugal primary sludge pumps see a
significant reduction in flow as the system pressure
increases, resulting in an insufficient volume of
sludge being transferred from the primary
sedimentation tanks to the digesters. This may lead
to an increased sludge blanket depth within the
primary sedimentation tanks, an increase in TSR
and a further reduction in transfer capacity, creating
an undesirable loop which continues until the point
is reached where the centrifugal pumps can no
longer deliver any flow to the digesters.

A Newtonian fluid (Figure 1) has the following shear stress-shear strain relationship: ( )= (1) PROCESS This section outlines the process taken to determine the potential range of pump duty points for the upgraded primary sludge pumping system. resulting in a total rising main length of 540 m. The spread of calculated friction loss values was such that pressure testing of the existing primary sludge pumping system was carried out to enable correlation of theoretical calculations.0 to 6.0% to estimate the required pump operating duty. 170 m downstream from the furthest primary sludge pump. Figure 2: Power Law (2) . Flow Case 2: as per flow case 1. This change in parameters results in an altered duty point for the primary sludge pumps.0% at 30 L/s required friction loss calculations to be undertaken for the above flow cases over a TSR range of 3. static head. To inform the friction loss calculations. This includes the establishment of design criteria and possible flow patterns. has a linear relationship between stress and strain. Fluids not satisfying this criterion are broadly referred to as Non-Newtonian fluids. The existing primary sludge rising main needs to be extended to the new facility. Rheological Properties A fluid may be characterised by the relationship between the shear stress and shear strain of the fluid.The PARR improvement project requires the reliable transfer of primary sludge. meaning the viscosity of the fluid is constant over all values of shear stress. Accurate friction loss calculations to inform pump selection become more critical as the transfer distances increase. This led to validation of the Herschel-Bulkley model and final pump head. A Power Law fluid (Figure 2) has the following shear stress-shear strain relationship: ( )= Flow Case 1: 30 L/s sludge transfer from the primary sedimentation tanks via a 540 m DN250 unlined steel duty sludge rising main to the new primary sludge screening facility. prior to being transferred to the digesters via another new pumping facility. A Newtonian. Transfer of sludge up to 5. and then into the screened primary sludge storage tank. Flow Case 3: an emergency pumping configuration whereby the new sludge screening facility is bypassed and the primary sludge is transferred at 30 L/s direct to the digesters. however via a 540 m DN200 glass lined standby sludge rising main (repurposed disused pipework). (The 6. determined by the required flow. There was concern that the existing centrifugal pumps would be unable to deliver the minimum requirement of 30 L/s at 5% TSR. with up to a higher TSR of 5% at 30 L/s. rheological testing to determine sludge properties for input to theoretical models and in-situ pressure testing to verify the calculated friction loss.0% case was estimated as an extreme event). or “ideal” fluid. since the variation in pump duty resulting from an underestimate/overestimate of friction losses may result in the selected pump operating outside its safe and efficient range. Design Parameters The main pumping configurations that will be used following the PARR upgrade are: Figure 1: Newtonian Fluid A fluid characterised by a Power Law relationship no longer has a constant viscosity over all values of shear strain. to a new sludge screening facility complete with a storage tank for screened sludge. minor system losses and pipeline friction losses. rheological testing of Malabar WWTP primary sludge was completed to provide relevant data for analysis using a range of theoretical models. An additional 5 L/s of scum will be intermittently fed into the line at the existing scum tie-in point.

the shear stress increases proportionally to the shear rate.A Bingham Plastic fluid behaves somewhat like a Newtonian fluid.e. Results of sitespecific rheology testing were compared against published data (Baroutian S.14%. Sewage sludge pumping systems generally operate in a low to moderate shear regime. et. A Bingham Plastic fluid will not flow until the shear stress applied exceeds the yield stress of the fluid. The rheology of Malabar WWTP primary sludge was initially characterised by a yield stress and a plastic viscosity. Bingham Plastic or Herschel-Bulkley is essential for accurate estimation of friction loss within a pumped system. which both vary with %TSR (Figure 5). Sludge parameters for 5.96%. some examples include mayonnaise and toothpaste.5% and 6. The rheology test result.63% and 4.96% was not able to be prepared and tested. Using previously published rheological data to calculate system friction losses is considered undesirable for non-Newtonian primary sludge due to the significant variation in sludge composition. generally under laminar or transitional flow regime conditions. 2012. indicates the viscosity of the sludge sample decreases as the applied stress increases. Rheology test data for all concentrations were initially analysed in terms of the Bingham Plastic model. At very high shear rates a Bingham model may be more suitable. 1982. Novarino D. and therefore rheological properties. samples of sludge were collected and rheological data derived from direct analysis of the plant’s sludge was obtained to improve the accuracy of friction loss calculations to inform pump selection for the calculated duty. (4) Figure 4: Herschel-Bulkley The Herschel-Bulkley model is particularly suited to assessing systems at low to moderate shear rates where there can be significant variability in the apparent viscosity (i. highlighting the importance of site-specific rheology testing. between plants.7%. Figure 6. Therefore. 3. Malabar primary sludge was tested at concentrations of 2. yield pseudo-plastic fluid. 3. As a result. an alternative Fanning friction factor method with . et al. 2010). Rheology test results are summarised in Table 1 and a plot of shear stress against shear rate of Malabar WWTP primary sludge at varying concentrations is shown in Figure 5. A Herschel-Bulkley fluid is also a visco-plastic with the fluid behaviour at stresses above the yield stress being governed by an exponent ‘n’ to characterise the shape of the curve. al. Frost RC. ‘slope’ of the curve). At Malabar WWTP. even a slight variation in calculated friction losses within the system is amplified by the long distance the primary sludge is transferred. The Herschel-Bulkley parameters were then used to estimate the friction loss within the system.64%. the consistency index ‘n’ and consistency coefficient ‘K’ (Table 2). This type of fluid may also be referred to as a visco-plastic or yield stress fluid. Once the fluid is moving. with the Herschel-Bulkley model expected to be the most appropriate method for pipe friction loss analysis. Malabar primary sludge can be characterised as a nonNewtonian. There was a significant difference in these results. If flow was found to be turbulent.0% TSR cases were extrapolated from the lower value test results as data above 4. Determination of Friction Loss The characterisation of a fluid as Newtonian. The yield stress and plastic viscosity at different %TSR values obtained from rheology tests were further analysed to determine the HerschelBulkley model parameters. A Herschel-Bulkley fluid (Figure 4) has the following shear stress-shear strain relationship: ( )= + Understanding sludge rheology is essential for predicting flow behaviour in sludge transfer systems. A Bingham Plastic fluid (Figure 3) has the following shear stress-shear strain relationship: ( )= + (3) Figure 3: Bingham Plastic A Herschel-Bulkley fluid combines the characteristics of a Power Law and Bingham Plastic relationship. 4. Power Law. however the yield stress of the fluid is the additional parameter which distinguishes it from a Newtonian fluid.

R et al. the Herschel-Bulkley model calculated an expected total dynamic pump head of 34. The significant length of the primary sludge rising largely impacts friction loss results.8% and 5. The %TSR values are representative of future operating conditions and can be used to validate the Herschel-Bulkley model. Results ranged from 33 m for flow case 1 at a low TSR of 3. Pressure readings from the data logger were around 3 Bar at a stabilised flow of 32 – 34 L/s. however significantly underestimated friction losses at higher %TSR values (i. The flow and %TSR values from the in-situ pressure test.38 Consistencey Coefficient 'K' 2. > 3. the Herschel-Bulkley model adopted the following parameters (Table 5). or the Bingham plastic model. and subsequently total dynamic pump head for the system.1 Using the above inputs. The Fanning friction factor method with modified equations applicable to both laminar and turbulent flow (Haldenwang. The Metzner-Reed Reynolds number was used to determine laminar or turbulent flow conditions. Using the previously completed rheology test results. The rheology test results indicated the characteristics of the Malabar primary sludge would be best represented by the Herschel-Bulkley model. Table 5: Herschel-Bulkley pressure test parameters Solids concentration (% w/v) 4. with majority of the test pumping between 1. In some instances for the lower %TSR cases (i. below 2100 is fully laminar (Metzner & Reed. In-situ Pressure Tests Field pressure readings of the existing primary sludge pumping system were taken in order to validate the application of the Herschel-Bulkley model. Laboratory %TSR results were slightly less than the %TSR recorded from the on-line instrument. These %TSR values were considered too low to represent future operating conditions. Laminar flow occurs if the pipeline velocity is less than the upper critical velocity when the MetznerReed Reynolds number is equal to 3000.7% TSR sludge) due to the absence of any yield stress input parameters. an alternative predictive method for the friction factor ‘f’ was used to calculate the loss for the primary sludge rising main. 2012). Three pressure tests of the existing primary sludge pumping system were completed on 04/08/14. Bingham Plastic and Herschel-Bulkley models for Malabar WWTP primary sludge transfer under flow case 1 only are shown in Table 3 for comparison.8% TSR. In this case.0% and 2. suggesting partial blockages at this relative low %TSR.2% able to be generated. completed on the 06/08/14.35% and 3. DISCUSSION The results of friction loss calculations completed using Hazen-Williams. The third pressure test transferred primary sludge between 2. 1955.14% to 157 m for flow case 2 at an extreme TSR of 6.e. . the flow in a run of pipe was deemed to be turbulent based on Reynolds number checks. The transitional range occurs between 2100 and 3000. Calculations produced a wide range of friction loss results. The Bingham Plastic method of calculation was comparable over the range of %TSR values with the HerschelBulkley Model.9% and 2. Heywood. 06/08/14 and 10/09/14. < 3. The on-line %TSR instrument is not reliable all the time. The second pressure test (Figure 7) was successful with %TSR values between 4.55%. so the lab values were adopted in this instance. The Hazen-Williams results were comparable to Herschel-Bulkley for lower %TSR sludge where the sludge is more water-like.e. Primary sludge samples were taken every minute for the duration of the pressure test to provide another means of determining the sludge’s %TSR.0% sludge. 1991). A Hazen-Williams calculation and a Bingham plastic model calculation were also undertaken for comparison of results.6 m.modified equations applicable to both laminar and turbulent flow were applied to estimate friction loss.50% Pump flow (L/s) 15 Yield Stress (Pa) 25 Consistencey Index 'n' 0.7%). The pressure during the pump test consistently measured around 4 Bar at the stabilised flow of 14-16 L/s. were used as inputs to validate the Herschel-Bulkley friction loss calculations. Subsequent investigation found evidence of partial blockages and consequently this result was discarded. Results of the first pressure test were discarded due to low %TSR values. The corresponding %TSR values measured in the laboratory varied between 0.0%. The variation of results led to the need for pressure testing to provide operational data for comparison with calculated results and to assist with the identification of a valid theoretical model for friction loss estimation to inform pump selection.

. Santagata.. 2014. which was comparable to the HerschelBulkley calculated value. R.s) 75.. 1982. 2002. Zanetti. McGraw-Hill. Cape Peninsula University of Technology.For comparison. England. American Journal of Environmental Sciences 6 (4): 329-337. Gapes. Technical Report RT175. NSW. Frost. USA Baroutian. ISSN 1553-345X. Australia. D. 1999. Mays. . B. Transport and Civil Infrastructures. Rheological Characterisation of Sludge Coming from a Wastewater Treatment Plant. 2012.. John Holland. Table 6: Bingham Plastic pressure test parameters Solids concentration (% w/v) 4. Accurate friction loss calculations become more critical as the transfer distance increases. Cape Town. indicating either model was an appropriate method in this instance for calculating system pressures for primary sludge pumping.6 Using the above inputs. S. 2012. The yield stress values are particularly important as they have a significant effect on total pump head. Rheology testing should be done on the specific plant sludge to increase confidence in the parameters used to calculate friction losses within the transfer system. Sydney.50% Pump flow (L/s) 15 Yield stress of sludge (Pa) 25 Plastic viscosity of sludge (mPa. Novarino. review and guidance. G. Haldenwang. subject to sufficient motor power and casing design pressure. RP. South Africa. The selection of a new centrifugal pump was considered unsuitable due to the range of calculated total dynamic pump head from 33 m to 157 m for a number of flow conditions and %TSR values. Italy. Slurry Systems Handbook. Water Research Centre. the Bingham Plastic model calculated an expected total dynamic pump head of 34. Eshtiaghi. W. The existing centrifugal primary sludge pumps could not be utilised to satisfy the required design criteria. APN. This variability led to the selection of a positive displacement pump for their reliability in delivering a constant flow across a range of required pump duty points. Holm. The pressure measured during the field test was 35 m (corrected for instrument location) which is within 5% of the Herschel-Bulkley and Bingham estimates. LW. Wayne Schmiedte and Duncan Taylor for their technical contribution. since the variation in pump duty from an underestimate/overestimate of friction losses may result in the selected pump operating outside its safe and efficient range. Department of Hydraulics. DJ. NOMENCLATURE = = = = ( REFERENCES ( ) ( ) ) Abulnaga. R. McGraw Hill. and GHD for your continued efforts over the development of the Malabar PARR project. Modulon. Rheological Characteristics of a Mixture of Primary and Secondary Municipal Sludge. CONCLUSION The composition and properties of sludge vary significantly from plant to plant. The variance between friction loss calculations across a number of models led to in-situ pressure testing. which validated the use of the HerschelBulkley model as the most appropriate method for pipe friction loss analysis for this application.2 m. a Bingham Plastic model calculation was completed using the in-situ pressure test data. 4Malabar. Thank you to the 4Malabar team comprising of members from Sydney Water. VG. Hydraulic Design Handbook. Stevenage. Chhabra.. Fester. Primary Sludge Pumping Audit Report. The Bingham plastic model was also found to be comparable. The Bingham Plastic model adopted the following parametes (Table 6). SCION.. N. Sutherland. Flow Process Research Centre. D. Prediction of friction losses for the flow of sewage sludges in straight pipes. RC. Schmiedte. E. Sludge pipe flow pressure drop prediction using composite power-law friction factor-Reynolds number correlations based on different non-Newtonian Reynolds numbers. M. 2010. New Zealand. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the co-authors Carlo Modulon. United Group Ltd. Dalmazzo..

and operation. DEStech Publications. CRC Press. Subramanian. Rheology Tests on Malabar WWTP Raw and Digested Slugde. design. 1998. USA. 2014. NSW. Wastewater treatment plants: planning. Lochinvar Laboratory. RS. SR. 2011. Non-Newtonian Flows. ISBN No. Sludge Engineering: The Treatment and disposal of wastewater sludges. Clarkson. PA. Clarkson University .Qasim. Vesilind. USA. Slurry Systems Engineering Pty Limited. Australia. 9781-932078-87-9. Sanin. FD. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. WW.

96% Pump flow (L/s) 30 30 30 Hazen-Williams C factor 1 65 55 47 Friction losses in straight pipe (m): Hazen-Williams 17.7 Friction losses in straight pipe (m): Herschel-Bulkley 15.0* Bulk Density 1005. Table 3: Comparison of Friction Loss Calculations for Flow Case 1 using Herschel-Bulkley.5 12 35 58 90 (Pa) Consistency 1.6 87.0 84.42 0. **Viscosity results were determined using a viscometer.1 1012.1 1.6 24. Sanin.70 55 19.6 4.70% 4.44 index (n) *Rheology properties extrapolated – highest TSR for which properties directly measured was 4.6 2.33 0.14 45 18.6 59.39 0.3 34 4.11 Friction losses in straight pipe (m): Bingham Plastic 13.8 43.Table 1: Sludge Rheology Results: Raw Data (Slurry Systems) Measured Test Plastic Viscosity Plastic Yield Stress (Pa)** Temperature at 20°C (mPas) Viscosity* (°C) (mPas) 4. 1998.14 3. 2011 Figure 5: Sludge Rheology Results: Bingham Parameters (Slurry Systems) .4 59. Abnormal Max.7 4.5 *Yield Stress determined by rotating vane in beaker test results which were significantly greater than True Concentration (wt%) the viscometer derived values.96 95 16. SR.96%.4 2.7 23.64 22 19.96 5. et al.9 14 3.7 7. Worst Case % TSR 3. Table 2: Sludge Rheology Results: Herschel-Bulkley Parameters Parameter Minimum Average Typical Max.0 coefficient (K) Consistency 0.5 1006.14% 3.0 32.5* 6.3 (kg/m3) Yield Stress 7.2 53.8 3.3 21.8 1009.4 1.4 2. Bingham Plastic Model and Hazen-Williams Solids concentration (% w/v) 3. FD.35 0.63 87 19.8 1001.9 27 3. Qasim.6 21.

Figure 6: Sludge Rheology Results: Raw Data (Slurry Systems) Figure 7: 06/08/14 Malabar WWTP Primary Sludge Rising Main Pressure Test Results .