The Stickney plant of the Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC), one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the world, treats an average dry weather flow of 22 m3/s and a sustained wet weather flow of 52 m3/s that can peak to 63 m3/s. Most of the inner city of Chicago has combined sewers, and in order to reduce pollution through combined sewer overflows (CSO), the 175 km Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) tunnels, up to 9.1 m in diameter, were constructed to receive and convey CSO to a reservoir from where it will be pumped to the Stickney treatment plant. Pumping back storm flows will result in sustained wet weather flows over periods of weeks. Much of the success of the plant will depend on the ability of 96 circular final clarifiers to produce an effluent of acceptable quality. The nitrifying activated sludge plant is arranged in a plug-flow configuration, and some denitrification takes place as a result of the high oxygen demand in the first pass of the four-pass aeration basins that have a length to width ratio of 18:1. The SVI of the mixed liquor varies between 60 and 80 ml/g. The final clarifiers, which were designed by the District's design office in 1938, have functioned for more than 65 years without major changes and are still producing very high-quality effluent. This paper will discuss the design and operation of these final clarifiers and compare the design with more modern design practices.

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