To make an indepth diagnosis of a full-scale rectangular secondary clarifier, an experimental and numerical study has been performed in a wastewater treatment facility. Calculation results by the numerical model with the adoption of the SIMPLE algorithm of Patankar are validated with radiotracer experiments. Emphasis is given to the prediction of residence time distribution (RTD) curves. The predicted RTD profiles are in good agreement with the experimental RTD curves at the upstream and center sections except for the withdrawal zone of the complex effluent weir structure. The simulation results predict successfully the well-known flow characteristics of each stage such as the waterfall phenomenon at the front of the clarifier, the bottom density current and the surface return flow in the settling zone, and the upward flow in the exit zone. The detailed effects of density current are thoroughly investigated in terms of high SS loading and temperature difference between influent and ambient fluid. The program developed in this study shows the high potential to assist in the design and determination of optimal operating conditions to improve effluent quality in a full-scale secondary clarifier.

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