Table Of Contents

  • Treatment of Wastewater
  • The Wastewater Treatment Procedure
  • Humans and Ecosystems are being protected
  • Accurate Measurement is required for Effective Monitoring
  • Effluent Guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency
  • What are Effluent Flow Meters?
  • Flow Meters Types

  • Conclusion

Sewage that has been processed in a sewage treatment plant or septic tank is referred to as effluent. It's also known as "wastewater" or "trade effluent."

Effluent is waste that does not come from kitchens, toilets, surface water, or residential sewage.

Any industrial or commercial facility can create and discharge it.

However, effluent normally flows directly from the premises into the main sewer system, and it cannot enter a reservoir, river, stream, or lake without being cleaned and treated.

Effluent typically comprises one or more contaminants, such as 



      Fats, oils, and greases (fogs), 

      Food waste,

      Heavy metal rinses, and 


We hope you have understood what is effluent.

Treatment of Wastewater

Before the effluent is discharged into the environment, wastewater treatment aims to remove as many suspended solids as feasible.

According to the USGS, the first treatment eliminates around 60% of suspended solids from wastewater, while secondary treatment removes more than 90% of suspended solids.

The Wastewater Treatment Procedure

Wastewater can contain many components, including human and animal waste, food particles, soil and other sediments, soaps, grease, oil, and chemicals.

It can come from various residential, commercial, and industrial sources.

Wastewater often contains a slew of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites due to the presence of so many contaminants.

Most Municipal wastewater treatment plants collect wastewater from homes served by a public sewer, which is then transported to the plant via pump stations and pipes.

Then a significant portion of the pollutants is removed before the remaining liquid (known as effluent) is discharged into the environment or reused. The treatment of wastewater is usually divided into various stages:

Preliminary treatment. Debris of a larger size (such as sticks, sand, and gravel) that could harm plant equipment is removed and disposed of.

Figure 1. Effluent treatment plant process flow diagram

Primary treatment. Heavy materials get settled at the bottom of the wastewater basin, while oil, grease, and other lighter solids float to the top.

The bottom and top sediments, collectively known as sludge, are treated further to stabilize them and minimize strong odors.

Secondary treatment. Following the primary treatment procedure, the liquid is exposed to microorganisms, which absorb dissolved and suspended organic materials as a food source and eliminate them.

A separation technique may be required to eliminate these bacteria from the wastewater.

The final or tertiary treatment. To kill disease-causing organisms, wastewater is disinfected using chlorine or UV radiation.

The cleared wastewater can next be treated with a chlorine-neutralizing agent before discharge.

Advanced Treatment. Additional chemical treatment may be required in some circumstances to remove nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen.

Humans and Ecosystems are being protected

The health of humans and entire ecosystems can be jeopardized by improperly handled wastewater.

For example, humans can contract diseases like hepatitis, gastroenteritis, encephalitis, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever from wastewater.

It can limit drinking water, beach use, shellfish consumption, and recreational activities like fishing and swimming. In addition, when wastewater is discharged, it can kill fish and other aquatic species.

The United States Congress cleared the Clean Water Act in 1972 as the primary federal statute addressing water contamination.

The Clean Water Act, built on the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, establishes a framework for regulating wastewater discharge into United States waters.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was established due to the act, making it illegal for industrial structures, municipal governments, and certain agricultural facilities to dump pollutants into navigable waters without first obtaining a permit.

Despite the fact that the NPDES program is managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 46 states are currently authorized to issue permits directly to facilities that release the effluent into bodies of water.

Individual states are responsible for establishing and enforcing limitations on the amount of wastewater that each facility can accept and discharge, as well as the pollutants that can be found in the effluent.

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Accurate Measurement is required for Effective Monitoring

Wastewater treatment facilities must be meticulously controlled to meet these stringent rules and safeguard the bodies of water that receive the effluent flow.

Therefore, plant operators must not receive extensive training to comprehend the permit program's requirements fully.

But they must also closely monitor the entire decontamination process, from measuring wastewater intake to carefully observing each step of treatment and making adjustments as needed to ensure that only legal amounts of effluent are discharged from the plant.

A clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter is commonly used because effective monitoring necessitates a precise and reliable measuring of wastewater flow.

These meters can measure both homogenous liquids and those with many suspended particles or aeration, and they can do it accurately even in the most difficult conditions.

In addition, these meters are useful for the wastewater industry because of their great adaptability.

They can handle a wide range of fluids treated by wastewater treatment plants (including raw sewage, chemical additives, sludge, and effluent).

Furthermore, because clamp-on flowmeters do not require the pipe to be cut or the flow to be stopped, they can save a facility both time and money.

Because the sensors are positioned on the outside of the pipe, they keep maintenance costs by preventing deposits from developing.

Effluent Guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency

According to the US EPA, Effluent Guidelines are national regulatory criteria for wastewater released to surface waters and municipal sewage treatment plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes these regulations for various industry sectors based on treatment and control technology effectiveness.

Effluent from Industry

Regulatory standards for industrial wastewater emitted from process and manufacturing industries are strict. These guidelines are intended to safeguard surface and groundwater resources.

Six challenges will shape the future of wastewater treatment: 

       Changing technology;

       Lowering operational costs; 

       Optimizing for efficiency; 

       Stricter environmental rules; 

       Water shortages and the urge for reuse; and

       Sub-product recovery.

Sludge is a by-product of many facilities' effluent treatment plants, and if appropriately dewatered, it can be utilized as a soil component to fertilizer. 

What are Effluent Flow Meters?

Effluent flow meters measure the rate at which wastewater flows in a certain operational environment.

Most UK firms that are subject to consent to discharge permit requirements will be obliged to record and submit the volume and quality of wastewater they produce, which will necessitate a wastewater flow meter of some sort.

There are different types of meters available, including open and closed channel meters and clean and dirty water meters.

If you're in charge of effluent flow measurement, you must understand why various flow meters should be utilized in certain situations.

This flow meter types guide describes the many types of effluent flow meters available and what to think about when choosing and maintaining your flow measurement solution.

Flow Meters Types

Effluent flow meters are usually divided into open channels and closed pipes.

  • Open Channel Flow Meters 

The top surface of the water in open channel flow is frequently exposed to the atmosphere.

Streams, flumes, rivers, drains, and ditches are examples of open flow. The flow might be smooth or choppy.

The HGL (Hydraulic Grade Line) coincides with the water surface line in open channels.

The maximum velocity occurs a short distance below the water surface, with the HGL (Hydraulic Grade Line) occurring a little distance below the water surface.

An open channel's cross-section is commonly triangular, rectangular, circular, or trapezoidal, and elements impacting flow in open channels include channel form, fluid velocity and depth, and channel slope.

  • Open Channel Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Open-channel ultrasonic flow meters are utilized as a part of an open-channel flow measurement system.

They should be used alongside a "main flow device" such as a flume or a weir to give a reliable and accurate measurement technique in these open settings.

The conventional approach for measuring flow in an open channel is to use an ultrasonic sensor to detect the depth of the liquid in the channel as it runs through a weir or a flume and then use that depth to calculate the flow rate with the flow meter.

This method depends on the weirs or flumes being built and erected so that the water depth at the measuring point (the gauge point) is consistent and smooth.

The ultrasonic flow meter sends out continuous high-frequency sound pulses and waits for an "echo" to calculate the precise depth of the water upstream of the flume or weir.

Depending on the principal flow device employed, the exact variation of the formula used to calculate the flow will vary.

Key Factors:

       They're easy to clean and keep up with.

       They are extremely long-lasting and durable.

       When properly installed and calibrated, they are accurate and dependable.

       Installation and setup are simple and versatile.

       They can be influenced by environmental factors such as temperature, though sun coverings might help to counteract this.

       Accurate data and the success of this flow meter require proper specification, calibration, and installation. 

  • Area Velocity Flow Meters

The cross-section and type of the channel in which the flowmeter is measuring depth and velocity are used to compute the flow rate.

This flow meter comes in two varieties: non-contact and wetted. The wetted variant is frequently put on a channel's bed, and it has traditionally employed the Doppler Effect to determine velocity.

Non-contact varieties are located above the channel and use a radar (for surface velocity only) or a laser (for surface and sub-surface velocities) to measure velocity, with the depth commonly estimated using a look-down ultrasonic sensor.

The area x velocity method is used to compute the flow rate in an area velocity flow meter for effluent water. This frequency change is utilized to calculate the flow velocity.

Key Factors:

       The speed and ease with which an area velocity flow meter can be installed is the main reason for its use.

        It's simple to set up, and there's usually no disruption to the flow.

      Although they require less initial expenditure than standard open channel flow system measurements, their accuracy and ability to be independently confirmed are still under question. As a result, their decision should be carefully reviewed in terms of long-term value for money.

        Area velocity flow meters can provide a quick fix and are frequently used in surveys. 

  • Closed Pipe Flow Meters

Closed pipelines, such as those used to transport effluent flow, can be measured with effluent flow meters, which calculate flow based on a prior understanding of the pipe's cross-section.

This procedure requires that the pipe be totally flooded in order to determine the "area" of the cross-section to be measured.

The meter only needs to use sensors to detect velocity if there is confidence in a fully defined flow profile.

However, elements like curves, gates, and twists in the pipe might affect the flow profile.

Therefore it's critical that it's installed by a professional to ensure these are taken into consideration and the flow profile is known.

  • Electromagnetic Flow Meters

Electromagnetic flow meters are used to measure liquid flow within an enclosed pipe by detecting the voltage produced by a conductor (wastewater) travelling through a magnetic field.

The voltage is proportional to the conductor velocity and can be used to calculate the flow rate.

The principle of Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Conduction is used in this computation.

They require a conducting fluid (in this case effluent) and a non-conducting pipelining and are frequently referred to as "magmeters."

These meters are popular because they offer a highly precise choice for measuring wastewater flow, and all SIRIS electromagnetic flow meters meet all regulatory criteria. 

Key factors:

       Electromagnetic flow meters are an excellent choice when pressure loss is a concern because they provide an unobstructed flow route when properly installed.

       They are a robust, low-maintenance choice due to the lack of moving parts. However, a regular maintenance program should include cleaning and inspecting the interior pipe bore.

       For them to properly work, they must be installed correctly by qualified professionals.

       To eliminate stray voltage, the meter must be fully charged and properly earthed to the fluid. 

  • Clamp-On Ultrasonic Flow Meters

Because they do not require the pipe to be opened for installation, clamp-on ultrasonic flow meters are a convenient way for flow measurement.

They work based on the "transit time" theory, which measures the difference in transit time between pulses traveling in the flow direction vs. those traveling in the opposite direction.

The average liquid velocity along the ultrasonic pulse path is then calculated using this differential measurement. It is feasible to calculate the flow rate using these transit durations and the pipe area.

These machines can also be rented for a short period to give a flow measurement solution.

Key factors:

       The key advantage is that they are simple to install because they are fastened to the pipe outside.

       To ensure that there are no air gaps between the clamp and the pipe, proper installation is essential.

       When the cost or time to install an electromagnetic flow meter is prohibitive, they offer a cost-effective alternative.

       Installation is simple, and maintenance is minimal because there is no pressure drop or energy loss, a large turn-down ratio, and no need to cut the pipe or stop the flow. 

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Any flow meter must be calibrated correctly and on a frequent basis to ensure data accuracy.

A flow meter would never be influenced by the conditions in which it is installed in an ideal world, but harsh surroundings and other factors can jeopardize its initial installation.

There's also the possibility that an old system was never properly installed in the first place.

Although no flow measurement device is completely precise and all have some amount of uncertainty, proper calibration and maintenance can help keep this level to a minimum. 

If a flow meter is required as part of your permission or consent to discharge, you are responsible for ensuring its proper operation and data accuracy. Failure to confirm this may result in fines and penalties.