Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 590. Waterworks Regulations

12VAC5-590-871. Coagulation and flocculation.

A. Rapid mixing is the rapid dispersion of chemicals throughout the water to be treated, usually by violent agitation, to promote coagulation.

1. Rapid mix basins or inline static mixers shall be provided.

2. Basins shall be equipped with mechanical mixing devices. Other arrangements, such as baffling, may be acceptable under special conditions and only when approved by the department. Where mechanical mixing devices are utilized, duplicate units or spare mixing equipment shall be provided.

3. Rapid mix basins with mechanical mixers should be based upon the mean temporal velocity gradient "G" (expressed as units of seconds-1). The owner's engineer shall submit the basis for the selected velocity gradient considering the chemicals to be added and water temperature. Typical values for G and T are:

TABLE 871.1

Rapid Mix Basin GT Values

T (seconds)

G (seconds-1)









a. The point of application of the coagulant shall be at the point of maximum mixing intensity;

b. The physical configuration of the mixing basin shall be designed to eliminate vortexing; and

c. Mechanical mixers should be designed to allow speed variation with a highest speed of at least three times the lowest speed.

B. Flocculation mixing is the agitation of treated water at low velocity gradients for sufficient time to agglomerate coagulated particles.

1. Basin inlet and outlet design shall prevent short circuiting and destruction of floc. A drain and overflow shall be provided. Multiple units shall be provided for continuous operability, and each basin shall be designed so that individual basins may be isolated without disrupting plant operation. Basins shall be arranged to allow for either series or parallel operation.

2. Design parameters:

a. The minimum detention time shall be 30 minutes for water treatment plants employing rapid rate gravity filters, and 20 minutes for water treatment plants using high rate gravity filters. Basin flow-through velocity should not be less than 0.5 ft/min or greater than 1.5 ft/min.

b. The design of the flocculation units shall be based upon the value of GT, which is ordinarily in the range of 20,000 to 200,000. The owner's engineer should establish the value of GT through experimentation.

c. Agitators shall be driven by variable speed drive units with peripheral tip speed of the paddles ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 ft/sec.

d. To control short circuiting in mechanical flocculators, at least three successive compartments should be provided. In addition, special attention should be given to the ports between compartments to further suppress short circuiting.

e. To accomplish maximum power input and reduce particle shearing, tapered flocculation should be provided.

f. In basins utilizing vertical shaft flocculators, wing walls, or stators shall be provided to prevent vortexing.

3. Flocculation and sedimentation basins shall be as close together as possible. The velocity gradient of the flocculated water through pipes or conduits to settling basins shall not be greater than the velocity gradient utilized in flocculating the water. Where velocity gradient is not used as a design parameter, the linear velocity in pipes and conduits from the flocculators to the settling basin shall not exceed 0.5 ft/sec unless otherwise approved by the department. Allowances shall be made to minimize turbulence at bends and changes in direction.

4. Baffling may be used for flocculation in small water treatment plants only when approved by the department. The design should allow the velocity gradients noted in subdivision B 3 of this subsection to be maintained.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-170 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 20, eff. June 23, 2021.

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