Hydraulics & Waterways

Oral

394012 - CHAIN MECHANISMS PRECEDING AND DURING VIOLENT GEYSERS IN SEWER SYSTEMS

Monday, June 4
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Regency Room
Co-Authors: Taher Chegini, Texas, USA – University of Houston

A geyser in stormwater and combined sewer systems is a high frequency oscillatory release of a mixture of gas and liquid that occurs at vertical shafts. The oscillating jet of gas-liquid mixture may reach a height of the order of a few to tens of meters above ground level. Herein, the term “violent” is used to distinguish the present work from previous studies, which reported geyser heights are relatively small compared to the present study. Because violent geysers may be destructive (e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQySL0sKys), several municipalities operate their combined sewer systems below design storage capacity to avoid geysers, which means that the storage of these systems are not fully utilized and hence, combined sewer overflows occur more often than they should. These overflows contain not only stormwater but also untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris. They are a major water pollution problem for approximately 772 cities in the U.S. that have combined sewer systems. The present study describes the chain mechanisms preceding and during violent geysers in vertical shafts based on our laboratory observations and three-dimensional numerical simulations. The geysers produced consist of a few consecutive eruptions (three to ten) within a time frame of a few seconds with heights that may exceed 30 m. These geysers resemble those observed in actual stormwater and combined sewer systems.

Key Words: Combined sewer overflows, Combined sewer system, Experiment, Geyser, Simulations, Stormwater, Two-phase flow, Violent eruption

Arturo S. Leon

Associate Professor
University of Houston

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