Although storage tanks provide an effective means of reducing the magnitude and frequency of combined sewer overflow discharges, and thereby of alleviating urban watercourse pollution, poorly designed storage structures frequently suffer from maintenance problems arising from sedimentation. The development of design guidelines that optimise the self-cleansing operation of storage structures is clearly a priority for urban drainage research.

This paper describes a system that has been developed to study sediment deposition in laboratory model-scale storage structures. The patterns of deposition resulting from a selection of flow regimes are described, and the need for time-varying and time series storm tests is highlighted. Sedimentation patterns are shown to predominantly depend on the flow field, and the critical bed shear stresses for deposition and erosion in the model situation are identified. Hence, the potential application of numerical models to the design problem is discussed.