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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 590. Waterworks Regulations
5/24/2024

12VAC5-590-872. Sedimentation.

A. The water treatment plant capacity, source water quality, and filtration process used shall be considered in determining the number and design of sedimentation basins.

B. The minimum settling time shall be four hours for water treatment plants employing rapid rate gravity filters, and a minimum of three hours for water treatment plants using high rate gravity filters. Reduced settling times may be approved by the department where effective settling is demonstrated. Effective settling time shall be calculated using the volume of the basins from the stilling wall to the submerged effluent orifice or weir, including the volume under launders or finger weirs.

C. Inlets shall be designed to distribute the water equally and at uniform velocities. Open ports, submerged ports, stilling walls, and similar entrance arrangements are required. Port velocities should be in the range of 0.5 to 1.5 ft/sec. Where stilling walls are not provided, a baffle shall be constructed across the basin close to the inlet and shall project several feet below the water surface to dissipate inlet velocities and provide uniform flows across the basin.

D. Outlet weirs or submerged orifices shall be designed to maintain settling velocities in the basin and minimize short circuiting. Outlet weirs and submerged orifices shall be designed as follows:

1. The rate of flow over the outlet weir shall not exceed 20,000 gpd/ft of the outlet launder.

2. Submerged orifices shall not be located lower than three feet below the normal water surface.

3. The entrance velocity through the submerged orifices shall not exceed 0.5 ft/sec.

E. The linear velocity in pipes and conduits from settling basins shall not exceed 1.0 ft/sec.

F. Rectangular sedimentation basins shall be designed with a length-to-width ratio of at least 4:1.

G. Surface overflow rates shall be within the range of 0.25 to 0.38 gpm/ft2 in water treatment plants using rapid rate filters, and a maximum of 0.5 gpm/ft2 for water treatment plants using high rate filters. Increased surface overflow rates and reduced settling times may be approved by the department where effective settling is demonstrated. The length and area between launders and finger weirs may be included in determining length-to-width ratio and overflow rates.

H. Basins shall be provided with a means for dewatering. Basin bottoms shall slope toward the drain not less than one foot in 12 feet unless mechanical sludge collection equipment is provided.

I. In areas where settling basins are subject to high and frequent cross winds, windbreaks shall be considered. Covers or enclosures shall be considered in locations subject to freezing.

J. The velocity through settling basins shall not exceed 1.0 ft/min. The basins shall be designed to minimize short circuiting. Baffles shall be provided as necessary to minimize short circuiting.

K. Multiple basins shall be provided for continuous operability, and each basin shall be designed so that individual basins may be isolated without disrupting plant operation.

L. Mechanical sludge collecting equipment shall be considered for all plants.

M. Sedimentation basins with tube or plate settlers shall meet the following design requirements:

1. Inlet and outlets shall be designed to maintain velocities suitable for settling in the basin and minimize short circuiting. Plate units shall be designed to ensure even flow distribution across the units.

2. Drain piping from the settler units shall be sized to facilitate a quick flush of the basin and to prevent flooding other portions of the plant.

3. Where units are located outdoors, adequate freeboard shall be provided above the top of the settlers to prevent freezing.

4. The maximum loading for tube settlers shall be two gpm/ft2 of cross-sectional area unless higher rates are demonstrated through pilot plant or in-plant demonstration studies.

5. The maximum loading for plate settlers shall be 0.5 gpm/ft2 based upon 80% of the projected horizontal plate area.

6. Flushing lines shall be provided to facilitate maintenance and shall be properly protected against backflow or backsiphonage.

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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