Integral Analysis of Water Plant Performance

by Brian L. Ramaley, (A.M.ASCE), Engr.; James M. Montgomery Consulting Engrs., Inc., Pasadena, Calif.,
Charles R. O'Melia, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Geography and Environmental Engrg., The Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, Md.,
William C. Wright, Asst. Engr.; Stearns and Wheler Civ. and San. Engrs., Cazenovia, N.Y.,
Desmond F. Lawler, Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex. 78712,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 3, Pg. 547-562

Document Type: Journal Paper


The removal of particles in water treatment plants through flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration depends on the design of each treatment process and physical characteristics of the raw water supply. Mathematical models, based on design variables for each process and the size distribution and density of the particles in the water, have been developed and linked to predict performance for a typical plant. The models for flocculation and sedimentation allow for broad particle sized distributions, but the filter model is limited to monodisperse suspensions. Quantitative predictions of the effects of changing values of the design variables on the performance of subsequent processes are evaluated. Filtrate concentration and head loss development are sensitive to changes in the velocity gradient during flocculation, the detention time in sedimentation, and the media size in filtration. Suspensions comprised primarily of inorganic particles require higher velocity gradients, longer settling times, and smaller filter media to produce acceptable finished water quality than suspensions containing amorphous precipitates.

Subject Headings: Water treatment plants | Flocculation | Mathematical models | Particle size distribution | Water quality | Integrals | Water supply | Particle velocity

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