The paper shows the results of a long-term research comprising FLUENT-based numerical modeling, in situ measurements and laboratory tests to analyze suspended solids (SS) transport processes in primary settling tanks (PSTs). The investigated PST was one of the rectangular horizontal flow PSTs at a large municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) of a capacity of 500,000 population equivalent. Many middle-sized and large WWTPs are equipped with such PSTs. The numerical PST model was calibrated and validated based on the results of comprehensive in situ flow and SS concentration measurements from low (5 m/h) up to quite high surface overflow rates of 9.5 and 13.0 m/h and on settling and other laboratory tests. The calibrated and validated PST model was also successfully used for evaluation of some slight modifications of the inlet geometry (removing lamellas, installing a flocculation ‘box’, shifting the inlet into a ‘bottom-near’ or into a ‘high’ position), which largely affect PST behavior and performance. The investigations provided detailed insight into the flow and SS transport processes within the investigated PST, which strongly contributes to hydrodynamically driven design and upgrading of PSTs.

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