Impact of hydrodynamic reconfiguration with baffles on treatment performance in waste stabilisation ponds: A full-scale experiment

Liah X. Coggins, Jesse Sounness, Lianpeng Zheng, Marco Ghisalberti, Anas Ghadouani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Wastewater infrastructure is expensive to build and maintain, and there is a need to focus on improving and modernising existing infrastructure before large capital investments are made to service future population needs. Waste stabilisation ponds (WSPs) are used worldwide for the treatment of wastewater, but their performance is significantly affected by poor hydraulic control. Hydraulic reconfiguration of ponds is a possible solution to this problem, whereby the flow is controlled and short-circuiting is reduced. There is evidence to suggest that this approach has the potential to increase treatment performance, however in the absence of full-scale validation it is difficult to generalise this to a wide range of sites. For example, there is no consensus on the best baffle configuration to optimise hydraulic performance. The main objective of this study was to conduct a full-scale experiment of baffles in a WSP, and to investigate their impact on hydraulic performance. To achieve this objective, the approach combined high-resolution pond bathymetry and 2D hydrodynamic modelling, assessed with hydraulic indices, to determine the optimal baffle configuration for the site; it was shown that three baffles perpendicular to the inflow provided the greatest increase (up to 24%) in mean residence time. This configuration was then implemented in a working WSP. The effects of the baffles on the pond were then assessed using a combination of field tracer testing, revealing an increase in mean residence time of at least 20%, and further hydrodynamic modelling. Through the addition of wind data into the hydrodynamic model, it is shown that baffles not only improve the flow, but also attenuate the effect of wind on pond hydraulics. While the conclusions of this study are site-specific, the implementation of site-specific solutions is important for progress towards optimal pond design. The approach developed here is easily transferrable for use on other sites, and will enhance our ability to plan, design and operate WSP systems in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2018


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