In aerated lagoons and even more in stabilization ponds the specific power (W/m3) is not high enough to maintain all the suspended solids in suspension. Some part of the suspended solids (including biomass) settles directly into the reactor and not in the final settling pond. The gradual accumulation of those sediments on the pond bottom affects performance by reducing the pond volume and shortening the Hydraulic Residence Time. However, the role played by these deposits is not restricted to such a physical effect. Far from being inert sediments they are also an important oxygen sink that must be taken into account when designing aerator power and oxygen supply, for example. On the other hand, under aerobic conditions, the upper layer of sediments may contribute to the treatment as a biofilm compartment in the reactor. In aerated lagoon systems another process contributes to the interaction of deposits and the liquid phase: the operating (often sequencing) of aerators may induce a drastic resuspension of deposits. In a 3,000 m3 aerated lagoon we evaluated that 3 tons of deposits were resuspended when aerators were started. Due to those processes we consider that a mathematical model of an aerated lagoon or of a stabilization pond has to take into account the contribution (positive and negative aspects) of deposits in the process. In this paper we propose a model for sediments including production but also biological processes. Simulations of the aerated lagoon with or without the “sediment compartment” demonstrate the effect and the importance of this compartment on the process. Of course a similar approach could be used for facultative or even maturation ponds. The next step would be to include anaerobic activities in the bottom layer.

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