Final Settling Tank Clarifier Observations

Settling tank observations include flow pattern (normally uniform distribution), settling, amount, and type of solids leaving with the process effluent (normally very low) and the clarity or turbidity of the process effluent (normally very clear). Observations should include the following conditions:

• Sludge bulking—Solids are evenly distributed throughout the tank and are leaving over the weir in large quantities.

• Sludge solids washout—Sludge blanket is down but solids are flowing over the effluent weir in large quantities; control tests indicate good-quality sludge.

• Clumping—Large "clumps" or masses of sludge (several inches or more) rise to the top of the settling tank.

• Ashing—Fine particles of gray to white material are flowing over the effluent weir in large quantities.

• Straggler floc—Small, almost transparent, very fluffy, buoyant solids particles (1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter) are rising to the surface; usually accompanied by a very clean effluent. New growth is most noticeable in the early morning hours. Sludge age is slightly below optimum.

• Pin floc—Very fine solids particles (usually less than 1/32 inch in diameter) are suspended throughout lightly turbid liquid; usually the result of an overoxidized sludge.

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