Standing in the way of the shortest path

February 16, 2022

The shortest path between two points, as everyone knows, is a straight line. And everyone knows that water is, in a sense, lazy -- it follows the path of least resistance as it seeks its own level. This knowledge is highly applicable in the world of pipes and open channels, of course, but it's also enormously important when thinking about flow through tanks and lagoons. Unless we force it to take a different route, water will tend to seek the shortest distance from inlet to outlet. And if a tank or lagoon is being used to apply treatment (like aeration), the result can be a truncated path from inlet to outlet, resulting in two problems: Dead zones where the water sits and stagnates, and water that encountered only the shortest period of treatment before it exited.

Aerial view of lagoon baffles in service

Look at how the water quality improves as the water flows from left to right in this lagoon, forced by the three baffle curtains (noted with yellow dots) to take a long, meandering path over lots of aerators. Also note how the algae still grow around the edges of the lagoon (where the water depth is lower) and in corners (which are miniature dead zones). These baffles are making a big difference to the ultimate treatment quality inside this lagoon.

Baffle curtains are a smart, cost-efficient way to ensure the maximum useful treatment within a tank or lagoon. Using durable, lightweight geomembranes suspended either from a frame (in a tank) or floats (in a lagoon), baffle curtains can redirect the flow of water so it crosses the largest number of aerators or has the maximum contact time with chemicals like chlorine. Baffle curtains deserve a first look anytime a system needs to perform better -- learn more in the baffle curtain section of our site or contact us for application assistance.

February 2022
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