Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

James R. Mihelcic


Dye Tracer, Mean Residence Time Distribution, Sanitation, Short-Circuiting, Water Reuse


This work explores the hydraulic performance of a wastewater lagoon system located in San Antonio, Bolivia. The system consists of one facultative pond and two maturation ponds in series and is managed through a locally elected water committee. A tracer study was performed on the primary facultative pond and an analysis of the solids accumulation on the bottom of the facultative lagoon was also performed. The results were used to generate residence time distribution curves and provide an estimate of mean residence time in the system. The data was used to examine hydraulic efficiency as it relates to short-circuiting and dead zones. A sludge study accumulation study was performed using the white towel method and the resulting measurements were interpolated to determine a total estimated sludge volume of 169 m3 (which is 8% of the facultative pond volume). An orange study was also performed to assess the surface flow pattern in the system. The results were compared with a computational 2-d model. The 2-d model incorporated the estimated sludge distribution and provided a good fit for the tracer dye concentrations measured in the field over the 12 day study period. Simple models such as the Tanks in Series and the Completely mixed model were evaluated and abandoned because of their inability to model the physical behavior in the system. The Completely mixed model did however perform better than the Plug flow model. After comparing the tracer results from the reactor models that were considered: Tanks in Series, Completely mixed fluid, manual interpolation and the results from the 2-d cfd flow simulation, the results that provided the best fit for the data over 12 days was the manual interpolation method at a flow rate of 98 m3/day and configuration D at 60 m3/day. However, because of uncertainty as to what depth to obtain a representative area for the 2-d simplification and sensitivity to flow; all four configurations were considered for estimating the MHRT at the lowest measured flow rate of 60 m3/day. The results at a flow rate of 60 m3/day varied between 10.88 and 13.04 days for the MHRT with a hydraulic efficiency that varied between 33-51.6% (accounting for sludge volume). This is much shorter than the actual nominal retention time of 37 days and the design nominal retention time of 26 days. As a result it was concluded that short-circuiting was occurring in the facultative lagoon.

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