Flow Insert: Helps KY Water Reclamation Facility Divert Flow without Odors

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Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1) in Northern Kentucky is responsible for the collection and treatment of wastewater and stormwater management for a 220 square-mile area that encompasses 30 municipalities. Over the years, Northern Kentucky's population has increased significantly. As a result, SD1 has made many upgrades to accommodate its growing number of customers, including increasing the treatment capacity of its oldest and largest treatment plant, Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Western Regional Tunnel Conveyance system.
The Western Regional Tunnel Conveyance system.

To carry wastewater flow from customers in Boone County and portions of Kenton County to the new Western Regional Water Reclamation Facility, SD1 constructed the Western Regional Tunnel Conveyance system, an energy-saving gravity design that consists of 32,610 feet of 8.5-foot diameter pipe - the single largest capital project in SD1's history. To divert the flow from Dry Creek to the new plant, the force main from SD1's Burlington Pump Station had to be rerouted into the trunk system that leads to the new tunnel. SD1 hired Hazen and Sawyer, P.C. to evaluate the impacts on the Burlington Pump Station operation and to design the force main connection to the trunk sewer.

To slow down the flow of wastewater and prevent odors before the wastewater entered a 25-foot drop into the new system, SD1 deployed a simple yet innovative solution they had successfully deployed in previous force main drops - the Vortex Flow Insert from IPEX USA LLC.

Ipex Vortex Flow Insert.
Ipex Vortex Flow Insert.

With no moving parts and requiring virtually no maintenance, the Vortex Flow Insert is a revolutionary technology for eliminating odors and minimizing corrosion in sewer drops. Its patented spiral flow design creates a downdraft that traps odorous gases and draws them toward the bottom where they are entrained back into the sewage flow. Wastewater flows into the top of the Vortex where it is directed around a channel of decreasing radius that accelerates the wastewater flow to a higher velocity. As the accelerated flow is channeled downward, that velocity causes the wastewater to hug the inside walls, creating a negative air core that draws airborne gases downward.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas is common in conventional sewer drops due to turbulence, causing odors that generate complaints from residents as well as corrosion within the sewer system that results in high maintenance costs.

Throughout the project design and construction, Hazen and Sawyer worked closely with IPEX to customize the Vortex Flow Insert for the wide range of flows expected at the time of the install - which ranged from 1.9 to 14.6 million gallons per day - and into the future. IPEX custom designs and builds every Vortex Flow Insert, depending on each unique application and project. The Vortex drop height can be as little as five feet to more than 100 feet tall, and the inserts are sized based on the peak flow that the unit is required to handle.

The Vortex Flow Insert not only helped SD1 avoid the cost of more expensive gravity sewer options and ensured the sewer drop would smell better, but it also saved SD1 money by extending sewer life and reducing maintenance costs.

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