Removing solids from water

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Produced or fresh water being treated may have suspended solids, such as formation sand, rust from piping and vessels, and scale particles, or dissolved solids (various chemical ions). For most uses or disposal methods, these solids may need to be removed. It may be necessary to remove these solids to prevent wear in high-velocity areas, prevent solids from filling up vessels and piping and interfering with instruments, and comply with discharge restrictions on oil-coated solids. This page discusses appropriate removal technologies and handling of the removed material. Solid particles, because of their heavier density (compared to water) and net negative buoyant force, will settle to the bottom with a terminal velocity that can be derived from Stokes' law, as shown inEq. 1. This equation applies strictly to creeping flow regimes in which the Reynolds number is less than unity; this is mainly concerned with spheres of very small diameter surrounded by a liquid. For very small particles, the inertial forces are much less than the viscous forces because of the low particle mass, and the particle does not enter into a turbulent settling regime. Most sedimentation basins are rectangular flumes with length-to-width ratios of 4:1 or greater to limit crossflow.

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