The work presented herein was completed in an effort to characterize the forces influencing ventilation in gravity sewers and to develop a mathematical model, based on conservation of momentum, capable of accounting for friction at the headspace/pipe interface, drag at the air/water interface, and buoyancy caused by air density differences between a sewer headspace and ambient. Experiments were completed on two full scale sewer reaches in Australia. A carbon monoxide-based tracer technique was used to measure the ventilation rate within the sewer headspaces. Additionally, measurements of pressure, relative humidity, and temperature were measured in the ambient air and sewer headspace. The first location was a five kilometre long sewer outfall beginning at a wastewater treatment plant and terminating at the ocean. The second location was a large gravity sewer reach fitted with ventilation fans. At the first location the headspace was entirely sealed except for openings that were controlled during the experiments. In this situation forces acting on the headspace air manifested mostly as a pressure distribution within the reach, effectively eliminating friction at the pipe wall. At the second location, air was forced to move near the same velocity as the wastewater, effectively eliminating drag at the air/water interface. These experiments allowed individual terms of the momentum equation to be evaluated. Experimental results were compared to the proposed mathematical model. Conclusions regarding model accuracy are provided along with model application guidance and assumptions.

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