In the design of water and wastewater treatment plants, proper flow and solids distribution can be as critical as process design considerations. Insufficient treatment and even plant failures can result from unequal and unmanageable flow and solids distribution. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling is a valuable tool in the evaluation of flow distribution to multiple units within a treatment process. This article reviews the benefits achieved by performing a CFD analysis of an Infilco high-rate dissolved air flotation (DAF) influent channel prior to finalizing the design of the plant. The CFD model was used to optimize the DAF influent channel configuration with respect to flow distribution to 10 identical process units that were inserted into an existing facility footprint. For the initial configurations modeled, the largest deviation of flow rate to an individual DAF unit was over 60%. Using CFD, design engineers developed a DAF influent channel configuration predicted to achieve less than 10% deviation. The upgraded facility is constructed and in service and the results of the CFD model were confirmed using actual turbidity data, which indicate that the solids are evenly distributed to the DAF process trains.

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