SEDIMENTATION
I
Structure
1 1 .1 Introduction
Objectives
11.2 Sedimentation
11.3 Theory of Sedimentation
11.4 Types of Sedimentation Tanks
11.4.1 Detention Time
11.4.2 An Ideal Settling Basin
11.4.3 Surface Loading and Overftow Velocity
11.5 Sedimentation of Flocculating Particles
11.5.1 Efficiency of Tanks
11.5.2 Sedimentation in Practice
11.6 Common Design Criteria
11.7 Details of Horizontal Flow Basins
11.7.1 Rectangular Basins
11.7.2 Radial Flow Circular Tanks
11.7.3 Multistorey Tanks
1 1.8 UpwardFlow Basins
11.8.1 HopperBottomed Sludge Blanket Basins
I l 8.2 The Pulsator
1 1.9 Basin Failure
11.10 Decrease in Efficiency of Sedimentation Tanks
1 1.11 Summary
11.12 Key Words
11.13 Answers to SAQs
11.1 INTRODUCTION
I I
I ,
Sedimentation is a natural process by which solids with higher density than the
fluid in which they are suspended settles under the action of gravity.
The setting velocity of a particle in a fluid is a function of its density, size and
shape as well as the density and viscosity of the fluid. For sedimentation to be a
practical treatment process, settling velocities of several metres per hour are
necessary.
Discrete suspensions are made up of particles with a fixed rigid shape, sand, for
example, which do not coalesce when brought into contact. Such a suspension thus,
has a constant settling velocity under specified conditions. Flocculent suspensions
are composed of particles with spongy adherent characteristics, which tend to
agglomerate on contact and produce fewer but larger particles with increasing
settling velocity with time. Simple settling velocity considers the situation in which
a discrete particle is placed in a fluid of lower density. The particle will accelerate
under gravity until a terminal velocity is reached, when the gravitational force is
balanced by an equal and opposite friction drag force. This basic theory is applied
for sedimentation.
Objectives
After studying this unit, you should be able to
I.
"fine sedimentation,
s 6cscribe the process of sedimentation,
.. :i. (,..,:I:
.,;,+I. ..... of i'locc~iientparticles in a very high concentration. Due to high
: . . ~ ~ ! i t : x ~ ~; P ! F  S into physical coritact and form a structure and further
; .; :~r~~ ~ I Ccanie
..,, :,:j5 ,!! ...,.<, ,j,>
~ ;A.,e i o cornpression of tht: 'structure. The process is also known as
, ' . $  ! ; , i ;  , : . . . .,;r;;,;
.,
..
Theory and Design of
11.3 THEORY OF SEDIMENTATION Sedlmenbtlon
If a particles falls freely in a still fluid, accelerates downwards due to gravity until
the frictional resistance or drag of the fluids equals the driving force. After
attaining equilibrium, the particle begins to settle at a uniform velocity, which is
known as settling or terminal velocity of the particle. The settling of the particle in
the suspension is influenced by the size, shape and specific gravity of the particle,
specific gravity and viscosity of the water and physical environment of the particle
I i.e. velocity of water and inIet as well as outlet arrangement of the structure. The
settling of a particle. due to gravity is shown in Figure 11,l.
The f o r c ~ sare due to gravity f w , the buyoant force due to the fluid fb, and the
frictional drag force fd. The downward acceleration of the particle can be obtained
from Newton's second law :
1 v is the settling velocity of the particle and rn its mass. After equilibrium dvldt
becomes zero
1 The force acting on the particle due to gravity is given by the relation :
I .:
g = acceleration due to gravity
The buoyant force
The drag force fd of the water is a function of the dynamic viscosity q, the density
of water, the settling velocity and the characteristic diameter d of the particle. The
drag force is given by
= ( d / 6 ) x ( 4 / d ) = (2/3)d
:. Equation 11.8 becomes
v=m8(vd/q) (G,  1) d
)
The equation 11.11 is the Stoke's law and v = cmlsec, d in cm and q in cmz/sec.
At high Reynold's number (1000 to 10,000) Nd is approximately constant for
turbulent flow (about 0.4) and putting Nd = 0.4 in Equation (1 1.9), we get
The equation 11.14 is known as Newton's law. The equatim applies if the particle
diameter is greater than 1.0 mm. For Reynold's number between 1 and 1000, a
transitional flow exists. The relationship between Nd and Re is approximated by the
II
relation given by Camp and Hazan as i
18.5
and Nd = as given by Fair, Geyer and Okun
R,O.~
1.6 0.4 0.6 0.714
V = [ 2 . 3 2 ( ~  ~ , ) d PW rl 1 ...(11.16)
where, q = dynamic viscosity of liquid
Transition flow formulae are used for particles of size ranging from 0.1 to 1.0 mm.
able 11.1 : Diameters of Different Particles
1

Example 11.1
Calculate the settling velocity of water of a spherical discrete particle of
0.05 mm diameter and specific gravity 2.5. The kinematic viscosity is
1.02 x 106 m 2/sec at 19O C. You should also check if the equation used for
calculating settling velocity is valid for the case.
Solution
From Equation (1 1.11)
v = 0.002 mlsec.
Equation (1 1.1 1) in valid for laminer flow condition i.e. when Reynold's Number
is less than 1. Hence, we should check whether Reynold's Number is less than 1
for the given condition.
BRIDGE
    
yJ
:
;
~ \ ; r i ; y JSLUDGE
' :.
?.?'
".. PIPE
INFLUENT 
/
Figure ll.t(b) : Radial Flow Circular Tank
r
I
OUT FLOW
lNFLUENT
SETTLING
I

F LUEN
FLOCCULATION
ZONE
To avoid turbulent flow in the basis or tank, an inlet zone is provided before the
settling zone. An effective type of an inlet for a rectangular settling tank is in the
form of a channel extending to full width of the tank with a submerged weir
(baffle wall) as shown in Figure 11.6(b). A similar type of outlet arrangement is
provided at the outlet. If also consists of an outlet channel extending for fuIl width
of the tank and receiving the water after it has passed over a weir as shown in
Figure 11.6(b).

OLll FLOW
\
SLUDGE ZONE
SUBMERGED
INLET PIPE
OUTLET
L
Figure 11.6 : (a) The Ideal Settling Tank, @) Section of a Submerged Type Inlet,
(c) Section of a Submerged Type Outlet
sludge
zone r
Water Treatment
11.4.3 S u r f a c e Loading/Overflow Velocity
In Figure 11.7, line diagram of a rectangular tank has been shown. The water
containing uniformly distributed sediment enters the rectangular tank with a
uniform velocity V. Let Q is the discharge entering the basin.
:. Flow velocity v
Assuming that all particles whose paths of travel are above the line AC will pass
through the basin, from geometric considerations, it can be said that :
v =
"
22E
BH'L
This shows that all particles having a settling velocity equal a greater than Q/BL
will settle down and be removed and hence, no particle having a settling velocity
more than or equal to Q/BL will remain suspended in the tank. Some particles
having settling velocities lower than Q/BL will also settle down, if they enter at
some other height H1 of the tank. Some particles having settling velocities lower
than Q/B.I, will also settle down, if they enter at some other height H, of the tank.
In that case when particles enter at some other height H1 o f the tank, all particles
having their settling velocities 2 (Hl/H).(Q/BL) will settle down.
If N, is the number of particles of a given size that have settled out and N being
the total number of particles of that size, then percentage of that particular sized
particles, which will be removed is N, / N and is equal to Hl/H for an uniform
distribution of particles.
If 75% of particles of a particular size are proposed to be removed in the settling
tank, then the settling velocity of that sized particles must be kept 2(75/100)(Q/BL)
i.e. Q/BL of that tank shbuld be kept less than or equal to 100/75 x Settling
velocity of that sized particle.
Hence, it is inferred that quantity Q/BL i.e. the discharge pei unit plan area is a
very important term for the design of continuous flow type settling tanks and is
known as overflow rate or surface loading or critical settling velocity or o v e d o w
velocity.
Normal values of surface loading or overflow velocity ranges between 500  750
litres/hr/m2 of plan area for H plain sedimentation tanks and between 1000  1250
litres/hr/m2 of plan area for coagulants aided tanks.
The smaller particles will also settle down if the overflow rate is reduced. For a
i
given value of Q overflow, the rate can be reduced by increasing the plan area o f T h e u p and Ptr:'gn of
Sed: iets4tl: 7,
the basin. "Theoretically depth does not has any effect on the efficiency of
.; !
sediment removal".
Table 11.2 : Settling Velocities of Discrete Particles
Example 11.2
Calculate the surface area required in an ideal settling tank to ensure removal
of all discrete particles with a settling velocity of 0.0028 mlsec from a flow
of 550 m3/h.
Solution
From Equation 11.21
Example 11.3
Determine the theoretical removal in the tank in the previous example for
discrete particles with settling velocity of 0.0015 mlsec.
Solution
Removal of particles with settling velocity less than the critical velocity is
given by vJv.
0.0015
:.' % removal =
0.0028
= 53.57%
SAQ 1
a) Two primary settling basins are 26 m in diameter with a 2.1 m side
water depth. Single effluent weirs are located on the peripheries of the
tank.
For a water flow of 26,000 m3/d. Calculate :
i) surface area and volume.
ii) overflow rate in ~ n " / m ~ . d
iii) detention time in hours
iv) weir loading in m3/m.d
c) Prove that area and overflow rates rather than the detention period
govern the design of settling tank.
The sample containing the suspended matter is placed in the column to ensure
uniform distribution of particle sizes. Samples are withdrawn from the ports at
various selected time intervals from different depths, and concentration of particles
is determined for all the samples withdrawn. The percentage removal is computed
on each sample and is plotted as a number against time and depth. Between plotted
points curves of equal percentage (isoconcentration lines) removal, are drawn as
shown in Figure 11.9.
TIME
TI
Figure 11.9 : Settling Curves of Flocculating Particles
Let a tank has an overflow rate of uH. Where vH =H/Tl, where Tl is detention
time. All particles having a settling velocity equal to or greater than vH will be
removed from the tank and particles with smaller velocities will be removed in
proportion v/vH. From Figure 11.4, it is seen that particles between ED and Ec have
settled with an average settling velocity of HA/Tl and between EE and ED with a 
settling velocity of HB/Tl and the overall removal is given by the expression.
in sample
The data have been plotted in Figure 11.10, which shows the pel .rage of
suspended solids with a settling velocity less than or equal to a s.)ecified
settling velocity. The surface overflow rate of 205 m/d 
From Figure 11.10, 49% of the SS have a settling velocity of greater than
2.37 x lo' m/s and will thus be removed.
:[' }
60
ALL REMOVED
As
3
3 237 X I0
Lo/ (, / REMOVAL I N
FLOW TANK
HORIZONIAL
'
VI
30
I
I
TOP SURFACE
DEPTH FLOCCULENT
SETTLED SUSPENSION
SUSPENSION
 TIME
DEPTH HINDERED
SETTLED SETTLING  H I G H SS
NORMAL
SETTLINGLOW SS
BOT l OM
 TIME
1) Velocity of flow : Not greater than 30 cm/min for horizontal flow tanks.
6) Slopes : 1% towards inlet and circular 8%. The total amount of flow ,
from the tank within 24 hours, generally equals the maximum daily
demand of water. For the efficient removal of sediment in the tank, it
should be kept in mind that flow is uniformly distributed throughout the
' crosssection of the tank. If currents permit a substantial portion of the
water to pass directly through the tank without being detained for the
intended time, the flow is said to be shortcircuited. To reduce the
tendency of short circuiting proper design of inlets and outlets near the
entrance and exit is necessary. It is to be kept in mind that long Theory and Design of
Sedimentation
relatively narrow tanks are less affected by the inlet and outlet
disturbances and by the currents caused by breezes.
Example 11.5
The average daily demand at a town has been estimated as 8 million litres per
day. Design a suitable sedimentation, tank assuming a detention period of
5 hours and velocity of flow as 22 cm per minute.
Solution
:. Average daily demand = 8 million litres
:. Maximum daily demand = 1.8 x 8 = 14.4 million litres
= 14.4 x lo6 litres.
Quantity of water to be treated during the detention period of 5 hours
Example 11.6
A circular sedimentation tank fitted with mechanical sludge removal unit is to
treat 4.0 million litres of water per day. The detention period of the tank is 5
I
boss. If depth of the tank is to be restricted to 3 m, calculate the diameter of
the tank.
Solution
Quantity of raw water to be treated per day = 4 million litres = 4 x 106 litres.
t Quantity of raw water to be treated during the detention period i e, capacity of
t
lo6
the tank = = 833 x lo3 litres = 833 cubic meters.
24
The capacity of a circular tank of depth H and Dia D is given by
Water Treatment
Volume = D2(0.1 ID + 0.785H)
H=3m
833 = D2(0.1 l D + 0.785 x 3)
=~~(0.llD
2.355)+
Solving by trial
D = 18.05 m
Hence diameter of the tank = 18.05 m
Sludge Removal from Sedimentation Tanks
The suspended material with raw water settle down at the bottom of the
sedimentation tank and it has to be removed periodicdly because retention of
sludge beyond limit reduces the capacity of the tank and detention period. In
addition, it leads to formation and evolution of certain foul gases due to the
deposition of the settled organic matter. They are cleaned from time to time either
manually or by mechanical arrangements provided in the tank for cleaning.
For manual cleaning, the tank is first put out of service and the supply of raw
water is discontinued and another cleaned tank is put in service for sedimentation.
The contained water of the tank to be cleaned is drained off till the depth remains
around 30 cm. The sludge is stirred and removed as slurry through a separate pipe
provided with a gate valve at the bottom of the tank.
In the mechanical process, sludge is scrapped and brought to the hopper at the
outlet end and is removed daily or periodically depending upon sludge deposition.
In the circular tank, the sludge is scrapped and brought to the centre and removed.
In tanks without mechanical sludge removal equipment, an additional minimum
depth of about 0.8 to 1.2 m is provided for storage of sediment, which is known as
sludge zone.
QlA, (m3/dayper m2 )
1 1
I Normal
Condition
Easy Condition Very Bad
Condition I
Without Coagulant aids 18 24
Inwardflow tanks (with water entering at the perimeter and flowing to a central
outlet) are virtually not used because of the merits described as applying to the
outwardflow basin are lost or even reversed.
number  2
 Storeys  2
Theory and Design of
Sedimentation
CONTROL OF SLUDE
DRAINAGE SPINDLE V UPPER CLARIFYING
SUBME'RGED OPENING
.LECT CLEAR
WATER 1r CLARIFIED WATER
COLLECTION
CHANNELS
WASHING LINES
FOR CLARIFIER FLOORS
,
11.8 UPWARDFLOW BASINS
1 11.8.1 Hopperbottomed Sludge Blanket Basins
f
A typical crosssection of a hopper bottomed sludge blanket basin has been shown
in Figure 11.13.
D.ECANTING TROUGHS
MAIN RAW WATER
BOTTOM SLUDGE
INLET PIPE EXTRACTOR PIPE
The raw water commonly with coagulants and coagulant aids is admitted. After
flashmixing at the bottom of the inverted pyramidal base, it passes slowly upward
through a zone of previously deposited sludge. This acts to flocculate and entrap
the floc particles and greatly improves clarification. A layer of clear water in the
upper cubical shaped portion of the basin makes it possible to obkrve the top of
the sludge blanket. They are also used as water softening plants. The permissible
maximum upflow rate is kept around 4  4.5 mlh.
I
,
1
When coagulant aids are used, river water can be treated successfully at upward
velocities of about 3 m/h but without coagulant aids velocity is kept around 1.5
I mlh. The merit of such basins is that under conditions that suit them, they can be
regarded as providing mixing, flocculation and settlement and they give a settled
wate; of more clarify. Deposited silts are removed easily without a scraper using
only the available hydraulic head. Their best feature is the ease in removal of the
sludge.
In the side of each basin at a silt depth of about 1.2 m below surface a pocket of
concrete is provided in which the silt decants on reaching the silt height and from
where it is drawn off as a highly turbid liquid through a small (20 mm) dia pipe
1 into the drain. Figure 11.13 shows a sophisticated type of sludge draw off known
3q Gravielectric cone. This also serves to exclude the s1.1dge but the process has
Water Treatment got automatic control. For complete emptying of the tank, a 100 mm diameter pipe
is used. The hopperbottomed upward flow tanks are more suitable for small works
less than 45,000 m3/day.
11.8.2 The Pulsator
The pulsator is another type of upward flow tank, which depends on a sludge
blanket for its effectiveness. It also combines the merit of having a flat bottom
with the operating simplicity of the hopperbottomed tank. Water in this tank is
admitted at varying rates of inflow, The sludge blanket expands during the period
of maximum inflow and contracts as soon as inflow diminishes. While designing, it
is kept in consideration that the speed of inflow is not allowed to exceed limits,
which may breakup the blanket. The gentle up and down movement induced in the
sludge blanket creates a thicker, more uniform sludge zone, which improves the
clarifying action. The sludge is decanted over a wire placed at about half tank
height, and the receiving tank has a hopper bottom and there is no water
movement therein. The sludge tends to concentrate and can be ejected easily under
normal conditions.
A Pulsator in which piston spring effect is obtained by the pulsing movement
induced by variation in flow is shown in Figure 11.14. To be noted is the fact that
there is no actual piston installed in a pulsator.
Tanks are generally 5 m deep. Due to their square shape and flat bottom, the
construction is cheap and the effective use of the bucket type sludge ejector makes
operation simple.
The improvement in the sludge blanket caused by gentle pulsing effect permits
upward water velocities upto 6 mk. The variation in flow rate is achieved by flow
into and out of a vacuum chamber.
When the silt content in the river becomes excessively high, upward flow basins
are more prone to failure than those working on horizontalflow principle. A;basin
fails due to any of the following reasons :
ii) The precipitated solids are not ejected fast enough due to which the tank
44 becoming siltlogged.
The first type of problem is more common in horizontal flow basins. This occurs Theory and Derlgn of
Sedlmentatlon
due to incorrect coagulant dosing, poor flocculation or streaming. Although it is a
nuisance, but not catastrophic.
The second problem is more likely in the smaller highefficiency upward flow
basins and may cause complete work shut down. Once an upward flow basin gets
full of silt, it becomes unmanageable until river settles down and the basin is
washed clean. The remedy is provided by presettlement tanks.
Example 11.7
Design a sedimentation tank rectangular in shape to treat 2 million litres of
raw water with detention period of 2 hours and overflow rate less than 45,000
litres per day per unit surface area. ? h e water contains 700 mgA of suspended
I
solids, 35% of which are settleable, calculate the volume of sludge storage of
one month cleaning period.
I
Solution
Volume
Detention = 7
D~scharge
.. Valume = Detention Period x Discharge
Assuming depth = 3 m
. Surface Area = 166.6613 = 55.55 m2
Providing 2 units of 55.5512 = 27.78 m2 each
= 7350 kg.
Water Treatment :. Volume of sludge storage per tank
= 735011000 = 7.35 m3
= 7.5 m3
Example 11.8
For a continuous flow settling tank 3 m deep and 60 m long, what flow
velocity of water would you recommend for effective removal of 0.025 mm
particles at 2 5 ' ~ . The specific gravity of particles is 2.65 and kinematic
viscosity of water may be taken as 0.01 cm21sec.
Solution
The settling velocity v from equation 11.11
g 2
v, =  (Gs 1) d = 0.025 mm = 0.0025 cm
18v

 w"@
18 0.01
(2.61 1) cm/sec
x

= 0.0562 cm.sec
V~ L
v,  H
,
1
:. VH = 0.0562 x cmlsec
0.024
= 1.405 cmlsec
Therefore, to ensure effective removal of particles upto 0.025 mm, the flow
'
velocity in the settling tank should not be more than 1.405 cmlsec.
4
r .. '.
/
SAQ 2 x
.
a) Explain the sedimentation process used in a water treatment plant. Dra*
a neat sketch of a sedimentation tank:
*d'
b) Complete the dimension of a continuous flow rectangular settling tank
for a population of 25,000 persons with a daily per capita water
allowance of 135 litres. Assume detention period to be 6 hours.
Streaming
The term streaming describes a condition in which the incoming water does not
mingle with the main bulk of water in the basin but passes rapidly from inlet to
outlet in a fairly well defined stream. It has been observed that some of water
entering a basin of 4 hour capacity actually passes over the outlet weir within a
few minutes. When it happens the theory of settlement is inapplicable leading to
unsatisfactory or incomplete sedimentation. The phenomenon also known as
short~circuitingis due to currents set up by water of different densities caused by
differences of temperature or silt content., The stream may be along the surface or
Water Treatment along the basin floor as per the relative temperatures of the incoming water and the
ambient air and water in the basin. In the same basin, the stream may follow
different tracks at different seasons.
Some school of thought say that judiciously placed baffle walls have prevented
streaming but according to another school of thought eddyforming capacity of a
baffle wall causes more problems and has disadvantage of precluding the
installation of mechanical separators. A basin with two compartments in series is a
more effective solution. Some benefit also results from constructing basins, which
are long in relation to their width. Such basins have higher Froude number [V'IR~
 where v is the mean velocity and R is the mean hydraulic depth]. It has been
observed that in basins with high Froude numbers streaming is virtually eliminated.
Streaming is marked more commonly in radial flow basins because the ratio of
length of flow to width (i.e. rlnr) is lower that 1 whereas mostly all rectangular
plan basins have lengthlwidth ratio > 1.
In case of vertital flow basin streaming occurs, if drawoff weirs are at different
levels, encouraging unequal flow to different points on the surface.
Overturn
In hot countries, vertical flow basins suffer from daily overturn phenomenon. This
happens in the early afternoon in the basins having hopperbottoms. The effect is
due to water in the lower part of the basin becoming warmer than the water in the
uppFr part. This happens due to inlet pipe being laid above ground for several
hundred metres. The warmer water enters at the bottom of a hopperbottomed basin
and as the morning sun heats the incoming flow, the contents become warmer at
the bottom and this warm sludge ladden water, being lighter than water at upper
part of the basin, rises up, and sludgeladden currents rise suddenly to the top. The
water in the basin is completely shaken up and sludge blanket is broken. Around 4
to 5 p.m., the water leaving the basin becomes very turbid.
For protection against overturn care should be taken that a big length of inlet pipe
should not be exposed to sun.
I SAQ 3
48
Theory and Design of
11.1 1 SUMMARY Sedimentation
In this unit, the theory of sedimentation and design criteria for design of
sedimentation tanks, have been discussed. Types of sedimentation tank,
performance of different types of sedimentation tanks and causes of failure of tanks
and its remedial methods also have been discussed. After going through this unit,
you should be in a position to design a sedimentation tank or basin.
54 1.67
 2.414 hr.
Quantity of water to be treated durino the detention period of 2.414 hr
Water Treatment
= Say 1308 m3
i) Capacity of each tank = 1308 Cubic meter
Volume
Surface area of tank =
Depth of water

 Q 13000
. Surfacearea 623
where B, L and H arc. width, length and depth of the tank and Q the
discharge.
Surface loading orsvefflow rate or ovefflow velocity is defined as
discharge per unit plan area.
c) Ovefflow rate = Q/B.L
i.e. discharge per unit plan area which govern the size of the tank, when
a particular discharge is to be treated.
Overflow rate of plain sedimentation ranges between 500  750
1itresihr/m2
SAQ 2
a) Refer Section 11.5
b) Refer Example 11.7
c) i) In horizontal flow sedimentation tanks particles having velocity
. more than a particular settling velocity settles down. In addition,
there is an additional removal of suspended solids with that
particular settling velocit; in the ratio of v/vo where v is the
discrete particle teiminal velocity and vo critical settling velocity
eiven bv OIA
ii) Whereas in vertical flow tank, the removal of only those particles will be Theory and Design of
Sedimentation
there, wnich is having terminal velocity equivalent or greater than uo
(critical settling velocity). Particles with lower settling velocities will be
washed out of the tank. However, once a sludge blanket is formed, this
serves to trap some particles with lower settling velocities in a form of
filtration. The removal efficiency of the tank, thus, increases as the
blanket develops. However, this growth in removal efficiency is not
readily predictable and depends on the nature of suspension being treated.
SAQ 3
a) The overflow rate Q/B.L represents the settling velocity of particles of
size d which get removed or it can be said that particles whose settling
velocity equals or exceeds Q/BL settles down.
: Settling Velocity v, = Q/BL
From equation 1 1 . 1 1
=0.1058d2/10~where d is in ~ r \
.: 70% removal will occur, because all particles and upto this size will
get removed in the basin.
Refer Section 11.3.1 and Equation (1 1.11).