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Chapter 2 Preliminary & Primary Wastewater

Treatment Operations

Preliminary Operations
 Preliminary operations are designed to remove materials from the
wastewater which will interfere with downstream treatment
 This includes large foreign objects, such as
– sticks,
– logs,
– shoes,
– and occasionally even dead animals.
 Grit is also removed in preliminary operations since it will cause
undue wear on piping and pumping systems, as well as
accumulate in some processes
The Preliminary Treatment System Includes
Sump & Pump Unit
Approach Channel
Screen Chamber
Grit Chamber
Skimming Tank

Flow diagram of a typical Preliminary Treatment System



To remove large objects such as rags, paper, plastics,

metals, etc

If not removed, may damage the pumping and sludge

removal equipment, hang-over weirs, and block valves,
nozzles, channels, pipelines, and appurtenances

First unit operation used at wastewater treatment plants.

Type of screens
Coarse Screens
Bar screens with relatively large openings of 75 to 150 mm

Medium Screens
Medium screens have clear openings of 20 to 50 mm

Fine Screens
with clear openings of less than 20 mm

Coarse Screens Fine Screens

Considerations for selection of a Screen

• Flow – average and variation

• Type of effluent – Storm, Industrial, Municipal
• Sewer type – long sewers result in heavy flushes of
• Degree of screenings removal required – screen
• Type of cleaning required – Manual, Automatic.
• Availability of power and washwater
• Health and Safety – screenings contain pathogens
and attract insects
• Odour potential
• Handling and transport requirements
• Disposal options
Design Considerations

I. Screen Arrangement
ii. Headloss Calculation

1 V v 
2 2 where C = empirical discharge

h   
coefficient = 0.7;
V = velocity of flow through the openings,
C  2g  m/sec;
v = approach velocity in upstream channel,
g = acceleration due to gravity, m/sec2
h= headloss, m
h L  β  h v sin θ (Kirschmer,1926)
 b 
where W = max. Cross-sectional width of the bars facing the direction of flow, m;
b = min. clear spacing of bars, m;
hv = velocity head of the flow approaching the bars, m; and
 = bar shape factor ;θ= angle of the rack to the horizontal
Table bar shape factor ()

Bar type 

Sharp-edged rectangular 2.42

Rectangular with semicircular upstream face 1.83

Circular 1.79

Rectangular with semicircular upstream/downstream face 1.67

The maximum allowable headloss for a rack is about 0.60 to 0.70 m.

Racks should be cleaned when headloss is more than the allowable
iii) Velocity
Table Typical design information for hand cleaned and
mechanically cleaned bar racks (Design guidelines)

Design factor manually mechanically

cleaned cleaned
Velocity through screen/rack (m/sec) 0.3~0.6 0.6~1
Bar size (mm)
Width 4~8 8~10
Depth 25~50 50~75
Clear spacing between bars (mm) 25~75 10~50
Slope from horizontal (°) 45~60 75~85
Allowable head loss, clogged (mm) 150 150
Max. Head loss, clogged (mm) 800 800
Iv) Screen Cleaning and disposal of Screenings

Cleaning Techniques
i) Manual
ii) Automatic.

Mechanically cleaned bar racks

Estimation of quantity of screenings

Compute the velocity through a rack when the approach

velocity is 0.60 m/s and the measured headloss is 38 mm.

1  V2  v2 
h   
C  2g 
C = empirical discharge coefficient = 0.7
V = velocity of flow through the openings m/sec=?
v = approach velocity in upstream channel=0.6m/s
g = acceleration due to gravity=9.81m/sec2
h= headloss=0.038m

V = 0.94 m/s

Design a coarse screen and calculate the headloss through

the rack, using the following information:

Peak design wet weather flow = 0.631 m3/s

Velocity through rack at peak wet weather flow= 0.90 m/s
Velocity through rack at maximum design dry weather flow = 0.6 m/s
θ =60o, with a mechanical cleaning device
Upstream depth of wastewater=1.12 m
Comminutor is a mechanism consisting of a drum, which rotates on a
vertical axis, and through which all the wastewater must pass from the
outside inwards.

 cuts and grinds up the coarse solids in the wastewater to about 6 to 10 mm

eliminate the messy and offensive screenings for solids handling and
comminuted solids often present d/s problems( recombine after comminution
into ropelike strands, if agitated)
Equalization Basins

used to store peak wastewater flows for later treatment

 absorb the instantaneous peak flows and allow the secondary and
tertiary processes to treat nearly constant flows.
useful for determining diurnal flow variations
detecting any abnormal flow rates

essential for evaluating the performance of the

treatment system
Sedimentation is the gravitational accumulation of solids at the
bottom of a fluid (air or water)

Types of Settling
Four types of sedimentation:
 Discrete settling
 Flocculant settling
 Hindered settling
 Compression

Discrete particle settling

When the Reynolds number is less than 1,

Stokes’ law

µ is the absolute viscosity of the fluid


The horizontal velocity of fluid flow just sufficient to create scour is described as
(Camp 1946)

Determine the surface overflow rate and horizontal velocity of a grit chamber to
remove the grit without removing organic material. Assume that grit particles have
a diameter of 0.2 mm (0.01 in) and a specific gravity of 2.65 (sand, silt, and clay);
and organic material has the same diameter and a specific gravity of 1.20. Assume
CD = 10.
Grit Removal (Grit chambers)

Grit is composed primarily of sand, cinders, and gravel.

 enters the wastewater collection system due to cracks in

pipes, improper or poorly fitting pipe joints, poorly fitting or
missing manhole covers, and storm water runoff from
streets, parking lots, etc.

 Grit is removed, not so much because of its pollution

effects, but because it is harmful to later treatment
Types of grit chambers
i) Horizontal Flow Grit Chamber
A long narrow sedimentation basin with better control
of flow through velocity - used for small plants
Grit removal: manual or mechanical
Channel should slope slightly towards the grit well
 Volume provided for grit storage depends on cleaning
frequency and grit quantities

(0.30 mm)

(0.15 mm)
ii) Vortex-Type Grit Chamber
 Grit-laden flow enters the unit tangentially at the top
 The spiralling flow pattern tends to lift lighter organic particles
 This mechanically induced vortex captures grit at the centre
 The grit is removed by air-lift or through a hopper
iii) Aerated Grit Chamber

Commonly used in medium to large plants

The introduction of air through a diffuser induces a spiral flow pattern

in the sewage as it moves through the tank

The roll velocity is sufficient:

– To maintain organic particles in suspension while allowing heavier
grit particles to settle

 Air supply is adjustable to provide optimum roll velocity for different

Sewage is freshened by air, leading to odour reduction
Chamber can be used also for chemical addition, mixing, and
flocculation ahead of primary treatment if desired
Grease removal may be achieved with a skimmer
Table Design parameter for aerated grit chambers
Range Typical
Depth,m 2-5
Length,m 7.5-20
width,m 2.5-7
width-depth ratio 1:1-5:1 2:01
detention time at
2-5 3
peak flow (min)
Air supply 0.15-0.45 0.3
(m3/min.m of length)
grit and scum quantities
grit,m3/103m3 0.004-0.20 0.015

The designed hourly average flow of a municipal

wastewater plant is 0.438 m3/s. Design an aerated grit
chamber where the detention time of the peak flow rate is
4.0 min (generally 3 to 5 min).
Solution (cont.)

Unit operation used for the removal of lighter suspended
Solids, oil and grease (a variety of materials, including fats, waxes,
free fatty acids, calcium and magnesium soaps, mineral oils and
other nonvolatile materials) .
 Separation of particles takes place near the top of the tank
Primary Sedimentation
Sedimentation is the gravity settling, and thus removal,
of materials more dense than the suspending fluid.
 Suspended solids in wastewater include such materials
as organic solids, grit, clay, sand, and bacteria.
 Sedimentation is accomplished in large circular or
rectangular tanks.
Such sedimentation processes can typically remove
about one-third of the BOD5 and two-thirds of the
suspended solids.
Sedimentation tanks are designed such that the water
velocity is reduced low enough that much of the
suspended matter will settle to the bottom of the tanks
where they are collected in sludge hoppers and removed
Primary Sedimentation
Three main types of tank are employed,
rectangular (or horizontal flow), circular or radial
flow) and upward flow.
Settling Properties

The tank has four zones:

– Inlet zone
– Outlet zone
– Settling zone
– Sludge zone
we consider only the settling zone
Settling Properties (cont.)
Settling Properties (Cont.)
Table Typical Design Information for primary sedimentation tanks
(Metcalf and Eddy)

range typical
Primary settling followed
by secondary treatment
detention time,h 1.5-2.5 2
overflow rate,m3/m2.d
average flow 32-48
peak hourly flow 80-120 100
Primary settling with
waste-activated sludge
detention time,h 1.5-2.5 2
overflow rate.m3/m2.d
average flow 24-32
peak hourly flow 49-69 61
Table Typical design information for rectangular and circular sedimentation
tanks used for primary treatment of wastewater (Metcalf and eddy)

range typical
depth(m) 3-5 3.6
Length(m) 15-90 25-40
width(m) 3-24 6-10
depth(m) 3-5 4.5
Diameter(m) 3-60 12-45
Bottom slope(mm/m) 60-160 80
Fig Suspended solids and BOD removal as a function of overflow rate

Design a primary clarification system for a design average

wastewater flow of 7570 m3/d (2.0 Mgal/d) with a peak hourly
flow of 18,900 m3/d (5.0 Mgal/d) and a minimum flow of 4540
m3/d (1.2 Mgal/d). Design a multiple units system using
The following data.
 an estimated 35 percent BOD5 removal at the design flow.
Minimum depth 3.0 m
Maximum weir loading 124 m3/(d m) or (10,000 gal/(d ft))
for average daily flow
Step 1. Determine tank dimensions

Take w =5.8m
Length l=23.2m
Tank surface Area=134.56m 2
Step 2. Detention time t

Step3. Determine the length of outlet weir