The complex and inhomogeneous nature of sediments in sewers, and the variability of the particles and dissolved substances flowing in dry and wet weather combined sewage, make the prediction of sediment erosion and pollutant release a difficult proposition. It is apparent that the erosion of sediments in sewers can release pollutants in concentrations which exceed by many times the levels found in the various contributing sources of the sediments and pollutants, and whilst this release is normally in the form of an initial highly polluting foul flush at the start of wet weather flow, the occurrence of foul flushes has not been found to be ubiquitous, even from event to event in the same sewer. The origins of foul flushes may be attributable to the speedy erosion of a weak layer of highly concentrated surficial sediments (or bed-load) at the start of wet weather flows. Various models have been proposed, and some successfully applied to field data, to simulate the erosion and movement of sediments and associated pollutants in combined sewer systems.

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