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Impacts of Flocculation on Sediment Basin Performance and Design

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 57(4): 1099-1107. (doi: 10.13031/trans.57.10652) @2014
Authors:   Jihoon Kang, Scott E. King, Richard A. McLaughlin
Keywords:   Construction site, Particle size distribution, Polyacrylamide, Sediment basin, Water quality

Abstract. There is increasing interest in controlling turbidity in construction site runoff using chemical flocculant treatments. Since flocculated sediment is likely to behave much differently from untreated sediment, changes to current sediment basin designs may be appropriate. This study evaluated a system consisting of three fiber check dams in a lined ditch discharging to sediment basins that differed in their configuration. Three different basin configurations were tested with and without granular polyacrylamide (PAM) applied to the weir of each check dam: (1) standard basin with a 2:1 length to width (L/W) ratio, (2) horizontal basin with a 1:2 L/W ratio, and (3) standard basin with a rising floor toward the exit (spillway). All configurations included two porous baffles of jute/coir netting across the full width of the basin. For each treatment of PAM and basin configuration, sediment-laden stormwater flows (0.014 to 0.056 m3 s-1) were introduced to the ditch for 29 min, and water samples were collected at the ditch entrance (influent), ditch exit, and basin exit. Regardless of PAM treatment, total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations were reduced by more than 55% at the ditch exit and by up to 90% at the basin exit relative to the influent (3,700 mg L-1). The 1:2 L/W basin reduced TSS more than either of the 2:1 L/W basins without flocculation, but there was no significant difference in TSS when sediment was treated with PAM. Turbidity at the ditch exit was similar to the influent (less than 10% difference) without flocculation but was greatly reduced (>66%) with flocculation. The PAM treatment lowered turbidity further (>88%) at the basin exit and was similar among all basin configurations. The particle size distribution of flocculated sediment was shifted into coarser fractions, enhancing settling in the basin. The estimation of basin surface area requirement based on the measured particle size suggested that basins receiving flocculated sediment could be reduced in surface area and altered in configuration while improving water quality for construction site discharges.

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