Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studies of a secondary clarifier at Durban's Northern Wastewater Treatment Works, and of a clarifier at the potable water treatment plant at Umzinto, a small town near Durban, have been undertaken with a view to improving their load capacities. In both cases the units are located in relatively old treatment plants, which face continually increasing loads due to population growth. Increasing the capacity of existing equipment, rather than installing new equipment, constitutes an efficient use of development capital. Although the two clarifiers have considerable design differences, the CFD studies indicated remarkably similar circulating flows, which concentrate up-flow near the outer wall of the clarifier in the region of the clarified water overflow weirs. Baffles were designed to disrupt the circulation so as to distribute up-flow over a wider area, thereby reducing the maximum vertical velocities. In the case of the wastewater secondary clarifier, the modification has been implemented, and evaluated in comparative tests involving an otherwise identical unmodified clarifier. In the case of the potable water clarifier, the modification has still to be implemented.

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